Jane Casey is best known for her likable police procedural series set in London featuring Irish Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan. With this book, Casey begins a YA series about sixteen-year-old Jess Tennant, a girl from London who goes with her single mom to spend the summer in the small wealthy seaside town of Port Sentinel, where her mom grew up. There, Jess meets her mom’s family for the first time, including her mom’s twin sister Tilly. Jess creates somewhat of a sensation in Port Sentinel, because she looks like the spitting image of her cousin Freya, who died a year ago in an apparent suicide after falling off of a cliff. But from the beginning, Jess picks up vibes that Freya didn’t fall without help, and that her peers know what happened but aren’t telling. Jess is determined to find out.
Jess, a British version of Veronica Mars, is fearless, impulsive, and abrasively forthright – reputedly nothing like her fanciful, artistic doppelgänger Freya. Jess makes a lot of insta-Friends, mostly because of those curious about the way she looks, and she also gets an insta-maybe-boyfriend with Will Henderson, the next-door neighbor on whom Freya had a crush. Will thought of Freya more like a sister, but he is intrigued by the very different-from-Freya Jess. Will is a little too perfect, but then again, so is Rob, who is Maeve’s boyfriend in Casey’s adult series.
Evaluation: This is a good start to a series, although I was not as taken with it as I am with Casey’s adult police procedurals. It feels to me like Jane Casey is trying to get her “YA legs” with this book. But I liked it enough though to want to see where she takes the series next.
Published by Corgi Childrens, an imprint of Random House Children’s Publishers, 2013