The Reappearance of Rachel Price

Delacorte. Apr. 2024. 448p. Tr $20.99. ISBN 9780593374207.
Gr 9 Up–Prickly 18-year-old Annabelle “Bel” Price has lived almost her whole life in the shadow of the disappearance of her mother, Rachel, 16 years before. Only one person was with Rachel when she disappeared, and that was Bel, but since she was a toddler, she remembers nothing. Since her disappearance, Rachel’s case has spawned numerous true crime podcasts and conspiracy theories, and now Bel’s father Charlie—who was initially arrested for having a hand in Rachel’s disappearance—has agreed to allow a documentary crew to interview the Price family: Bel’s Aunt Sherry and Uncle Jeff and her best friend/cousin Carter, Grandpa Pat who is suffering from dementia, and Rachel’s spiteful mother. When Rachel dramatically appears on the Price family’s front doorstep in the middle of filming, Bel’s world explodes. At first Rachel seems relieved to be home as she tells the cameras her story of abduction and escape, but when the rest of the Price family act strangely and inconsistencies begin to arise in her mother’s story, Bel becomes determined to find out what happened. Readers may struggle to get past Bel’s antagonistic behavior toward anyone who isn’t her father—Bel consistently goes out of her way to hurt people in order to prevent them from forming an attachment with her—but underneath is an engaging story of intrigue, deceit, and the secrets that a family can hold. The Price family motto “family first” hits different every time as the story unfolds. Characters are cued white.
VERDICT Jackson continues to beguile and intrigue readers with this absorbing mystery. Recommended.

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