The Girls from Hush Cabin

Blackstone. Aug. 2023. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9798200877751.
Gr 8 Up–Summer camp friends Zoe, Calista, Holly, and Denise reunite years later, but their reunion is bittersweet as the occasion is not a happy one. They are attending the funeral of their beloved camp counselor, Violet. The friends are immediately struck with how much they have grown apart—the woman in the coffin looks nothing like the fresh-faced, fun-loving companion they’d known, and when they find out how she actually died, suspicions flare. Violet was a ridiculously strong swimmer; a drowning death seems inconceivable, and the members of Hush Cabin are convinced foul play was involved. When Violet’s boyfriend takes a tumble from a 14th-floor balcony, and a threatening note is left for one of the friends, they become convinced that Violet was murdered and are quick to point fingers at one another. The story takes a soapy turn when it is also revealed that Violet’s boyfriend was sleeping with Violet’s mother. Meanwhile, Holly’s relationship with her boyfriend, Alex, is significant. Alex is a classically abusive, controlling partner—an important archetype for young readers to recognize. The novel is told in alternating narratives, with each chapter in the voice of one of the four distinctive characters. Flashbacks are signaled by italics and helpful references to “my 13-year-old self” cue the time change. The main cast is cued white, while a brutish club owner named Hector is presumed to be a person of color: not the greatest attempt at diversity.
VERDICT YA mystery is often hesitant to embrace actual murder, but Hoy-Kenny doesn’t pull any punches. A solid mystery with actual murders.

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