Win Lose Kill Die

Delacorte. Nov. 2023. 272p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780593705476.
Gr 6 Up–“Rich, poor, it doesn’t matter at Morton. We’re all here because we are damn clever.” Though the secluded walls of the elite Morton Academy once served to shield students from the outside world, they now feel more like a trap, putting a target on the overachieving teens as they begin dying in a string of unsettling incidents. Liz, along with fellow members of a secret society Taylor, Kat, Marcus, and Cole, attempt to salvage their senior year by stopping the killer before it’s too late. Murphy presents a young adult thriller full of rich description and detail, but the dialogue and character interaction falls flat, spoiling the otherwise immersive experience. Told primarily from Liz’s first-person perspective, ominous asides from the killer help to build tension, though the character arc required to reach the final twist feels forced and improbable. The cast of characters is racially diverse.
VERDICT This book will appeal to readers seeking a suspenseful teen slasher about secret societies and social climbing. Recommended for fans of Gretchen McNeil, Gemma Halliday, and Holly Jackson.

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