This satisfying one-volume story feels complete, but a little short. Jun, a junior high overachiever and working-class girl, begins attending Ellsmere, an extremely elite boarding school. She befriends her weird roommate, Cassie, who is obsessed with the woods behind the school and convinced a strange creature dwells within them. The two girls are targeted by Emily, the class bully whose goal is not only to stigmatize the freaks but also to destroy Jun's future. Although it's carefully written and likely to be a sure-fire hit with middle-school girls, the book falls flat at times. The strength of this story rests with villain Emily, but she's poorly characterized. The pace and storytelling are heavily manga-influenced, in a good way, though the artwork is similar to Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim series. The strongest part is the exciting, well-paced action sequence at the end. Hicks (Zombies Calling) is at her best when the book sticks with authenticity. (Dec.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.