Fredericks (The Girl in the Park) delivers an intense but hopeful tale of bullying, revenge, and grief. The summer before junior year, narrator Toni Thurman had a fling with Oliver, who was “kind of taking a break” from his relationship with his girlfriend, Chloe. After Oliver and Chloe get back together, Chloe and her friends launch a terrifying assault against Toni, starting with text messages, rumors, and threats, and culminating in a physical attack. As Chloe’s campaign spreads across the school, Toni’s response is a believable mix of bravado, sadness, and terror. Unable to stop the attacks, Toni connects with Cassandra, who has found power and comfort from her own problems in witchcraft. When the girls’ revenge spells seem to work—with tragic consequences—Toni tries to find a way to heal the damage. While the ending comes a bit too easily for such a complex story, Fredericks again proves her gift for conveying the intensity of adolescence, while exploring the ways girls’ sexuality is used against them and asking why “we all have to be predators and prey.” Ages 14–up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Oct.)
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, August 26, 2013:
"Fredericks delivers an intense but hopeful tale of bullying, revenge, and grief... [proving] her gift for conveying the intensity of adolescence."
Booklist, August 1, 2013:
"Fredericks’ reader pleasing new novel is a page-turning, well-realized horror story of revenge gone awry and the possibility of finding redemption in the power of goodness."
School Library Journal, September 2013:
"This darkly honest look at bullying, high school cliques, and teen drama amid family tragedy will have readers glued to the page for every last unexpected plot twist and turn."
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2013:
"This intriguing psychological thriller...is actually a realistic and frank treatise on karma and the redeeming power of female friendship. Fredericks displays an insider’s knowledge of dramatic adolescent interactions through unaffected prose and dialogue-heavy chapters that make the pages fly. A refreshing take on the mean-girl trope."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December 2013:
"Fredericks gives Toni a vivid narrative voice and character, a girl who credibly enjoys male attention and shrugs at female jealousy...An unusual mix of enticing readability and thoughtfulness, this makes an interesting complement to Medina’s Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass."
A teenager worries that a spell she cast against a school bully will have serious consequences in this intriguing psychological thriller by the author of The Girl in the Park (2012). High school junior Toni isn't looking forward to the first day of school. Popular Chloe is furious at Toni for making out with her boyfriend while they were split up and is sending her threatening texts. In addition, Toni's parents are struggling to recover from her father's affair with his graduate assistant. Worried and alone, Toni reaches out to Cassie, her best friend Ella's cousin, who is also suffering due to the recent death of her younger brother. Cassie tells Toni she's a witch and can help her punish Chloe. Toni plays along, but when tragedy strikes the same night they hex Chloe, Toni is terrified the magic actually worked. She avoids Cassie until Cassie threatens to cast a spell on Ella for insinuating to their family that she had something to do with her brother's death. Toni must broker a peace between the cousins while also learning how to be a better friend to both through nonmagical means. What seems at first to be a supernatural thriller is actually a realistic and frank treatise on karma and the redeeming power of female friendship. Fredericks displays an insider's knowledge of dramatic adolescent interactions through unaffected prose and dialogue-heavy chapters that make the pages fly. A refreshing take on the mean-girl trope. (Fiction. 13-16)