"Mystery fans will enjoy this well-plotted story, which [combines] budding romance, family problems, amnesia, international travel and murder."--Kirkus Reviews
Narrator Juliana Martin-Drake, 15, feels "Nothing is the way it should be." Her mother has brought Juliana and her nine-year-old siblings from their California home to England while she and their father have a "trial separation." Blackthorn, a picturesque artists' colony by the sea, should be an idyllic spot, but Juliana feels the loss of her father deeply. Upon her arrival, she begins to sense a strange smell and to hear repeatedly a voice in her head ("Wake up, please wake up-oh no-help! Help! Come quick!"). Within days, one of the artists is found murdered. Juliana believes that the police have too quickly arrested one of the village "lager louts" and thinks she may have found a clue to point them in the right direction. Reiss (Sweet Miss Honeywell's Revenge) peppers the narrative with colorful British vocabulary and details of claustrophobic village life. Through Juliana's narrative, readers learn that she was adopted and likely born in England; memory flashbacks return to her, and the author plants clues about the recent murder and suggests its connection to an earlier death in the community. The memories of her past point her to further clues that add up to a suspenseful and satisfying climax. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Gr 7 Up-Broken into its components, this book promises a great mystery: a teenaged heroine with tragic buried memories beginning to resurface; a cold, windswept winter in a colorless English seaside town; a pushy, witchlike busybody mysteriously murdered; a cute guy next door; and two warmly lovable younger siblings for comic relief. Unfortunately, the author has difficulty balancing the plot, the necessary explanations of background, a mysterious tone, and her narrator's character. "I have a memory problem," Juliana confesses, but it takes another 58 pages of meeting new characters and having "strange, weird feelings" before she finally tells readers what the problem is and muses upon why she has it. The wonderfully visceral setting and intriguing cast of characters almost make up for the baffling narrator, but ultimately the link between the two simultaneous mysteries proves tenuous, and the identity of the murderer no mystery at all.-Rhona Campbell, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Sometimes being pleasant and predictable is a good thing. Mystery fans will enjoy this well-plotted story, which packs budding romance, family problems, amnesia, international travel and murder into a few short days in the lives of American adoptee Juliana Martin-Drake, her mother and her two younger siblings. The family has temporarily moved to a small village in England so that Mrs. Martin-Drake can rekindle her career as an artist and decide whether to remain in her marriage. Juliana just wants to go home. When her mother's friend, a woman universally despised, is found dead, Juliana investigates, subsequently finding herself in danger. Although coincidence plays a strong role in her discoveries, none of the action is either out of place or impossible to imagine. In the process of unraveling the mystery, Juliana recovers her memories of the death of her birth mother. Although Reiss's repeated message that adoptive families are no less real than biological ones occasionally seems heavy-handed, in general she melds the various elements of her plot skillfully enough to carry readers along smoothly. (Fiction. 12-16)