Moving to Bells Hollow, Maine, from Los Angeles is a shock to Jane, but after her father dies and her mother reveals they are broke, North Manor, formerly home to Jane’s late grandmother, Emilia, is all they have left. Named “creep house” by the locals, North Manor has been shuttered for years, but its mysterious quirks (the pervasive smell of roses, doors opening on their own) are enough to unnerve Agatha Christie aficionado Jane. Despite new friends Alana and Susie, plus an after-school bookstore job, Jane is troubled by anger-fueled blackouts and out-of-body experiences, a high school bully who knows more about Jane’s family than she does, and a mother oblivious to North Manor’s peculiarities. Just as Jane starts to make peace with her home and new life, a shocking secret changes her. Leno (You Must Not Miss) permeates each scene with delicious frights: a piano plays by itself, unseen hands write words on a foggy mirror. Poetic descriptions create an uncanny atmosphere, and nods to cozy bookstores and classic mysteries will charm bibliophiles as Leno effectively mixes terror with grief. Ages 14–up. Agent: Wendy Schmalz, Wendy Schmalz Agency. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Jane and her mother Ruth have just traveled from California to Maine following the sudden passing of Jane's father. Returning to Ruth's family home, North Manor, which she inherited after the passing of her parents, mother and daughter struggle to find their new normal. As they settle in, Jane starts to sense that something isn't quite right at North Manor. From a rosebush that thrives out of season to shadows lurking beneath doors, North Manor has secrets to tell and Jane is eager to learn them. Leno evokes a Stephen King–like creepiness that draws readers deeper into the story with each turn of the page. With less focus on character development and more on creating a rich atmosphere and sense of foreboding, this is a great choice for those interested in a gripping but speedy read. VERDICT Recommended for all libraries. Hand this to teens who binge-watched Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House.—Maryjean Riou, Hunterdon County Lib., Flemington, NJ
A spooky New England town gets a couple new residents.
Jane arrives in Bells Hollow, Maine, hoping to rebuild her life in the wake of her father’s unexpected death. After selling their California home to settle debts, Jane’s mother, Ruth, has relocated the small family to the childhood home left to her by her estranged parents. The house, North Manor, is the subject of whispers and rumor in the small town. Jane makes friends at school and gets an after-school job in a bookstore that contains a coffee shop, but all the while there’s a creeping dread in the back of her mind: Something is very wrong with this place, and her mother isn’t being completely honest with her. As Jane stumbles through anxiety, mystery readers will itch for the big reveal. The author crafts spooky set pieces and an intriguing cast of supporting characters, but Jane’s repetitive cycle of grief, dread, anxiety, repeat comes very close to wearing out its welcome. Luckily, just when it reaches the boiling point, secrets are revealed and twisted upon, serving up an explosive finale that reframes the slower bits and ends the book on a high note. Main characters are White; Jane’s school friend Susie and her boss, Will, are Black.
A deliberately paced thriller with a frightful twist. (Thriller. 13-17)
From the Publisher
Praise for Horrid:
"The author crafts spooky set pieces and an intriguing cast of supporting characters [...] serving up an explosive finale [...]. A deliberately paced thriller with a frightful twist."Kirkus
"Leno evokes a Stephen King-like creepiness that draws readers deeper into the story with each turn of the page. [...] [A] great choice for those interested in a gripping but speedy read. [...] Hand this to teens who binge-watched Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House."School Library Journal
"Leno (You Must Not Miss) permeates each scene with delicious frights [...] Poetic descriptions create an uncanny atmosphere, and nods to cozy bookstores and classic mysteries will charm bibliophiles as Leno effectively mixes terror with grief."Publishers Weekly
"This is movie-ready Gothic horror, with a deliciously foreboding setting, an increasingly unreliable narrator, and a Mommie Dearest plotline that carefully and effectively straddles the line between campy and disturbing...the pacing strikes just the right rhythm, moving erratically as Jane becomes more upset but pausing on the truly terrifying elements...Jane may be a fan of Agatha Christie, but this will more likely please readers of Shirley Jackson."BCCB
"Leno (You Must Not Miss, 2019) blends Agatha Christie and Shirley Jackson for a narrative that ranges from unsettling to genuinely terrifying. A sudden ending will leave readers gasping, and the deliberate descent through one girl's psyche is undeniably affecting."Booklist