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Teen/YA Review: The Outliers

Friday, January 6, 2017 17:43
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In December, I listened to a new teen/YA novel on audio, The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight, which is the start of a new series. It’s a dark and suspenseful story, with so many unexpected twists and turns, you’ll wish you had a compass with you!

Wylie is going through a very tough time. Four months ago, her mom died in a car accident, and Wylie’s world shattered. Her father and twin brother, Gideon, have returned to their normal lives, but Wylie can’t. She suffers crippling anxiety when she tries to leave the house, so she just doesn’t try anymore. She is comfortable in her own home and has a tutor come to help her keep up with schoolwork, though her father wants her to go back to school. Wylie’s dad is a nerdy scientist who’s never very good at relating to his daughter, despite the fact that his field of expertise is Emotional Intelligence.
Wylie is satisfied with this status quo until one disturbing day. First, her best friend’s mother comes to the door. She says that Cassie is missing, and asks if they can help find her. Cassie and Wylie haven’t spoken in a week, since they had a fight, and Cassie has been even more reckless and out of control than usual lately. Wylie feels like they don’t have much in common any more, with Cassie drinking a lot, going to parties, and dating Jasper, a star athlete at their school whom Wylie thinks is a bad influence on Cassie.
Despite all these recent disagreements and rifts between them, though, when Cassie herself sends Wylie a text saying, “Please, Wylie, I need your help,” Wylie doesn’t hesitate because that’s what best friends are for. She is prepared to extricate Cassie from whatever latest predicament she has gotten herself into. Cassie also texts Jasper and sends him to Wylie’s house to pick her up, since Wylie doesn’t have her license yet. So, Wylie takes a deep breath and leaves the house for the first time in months, reluctantly accompanying Jasper. They head north on the highway, as Cassie has mysteriously instructed.
Cassie texts them periodically with more instructions, sending them deep into the north woods of Maine, where Wylie and Jasper run into all kinds of problems, as things get weirder and weirder. The suspense builds as the plot twists in one direction and then another. This is one mystery you will not figure out before it is revealed. It’s a fast-paced novel, filled with action and a dark sense of foreboding. Since it is book one of a new series, not all of its complex mysteries are solved by the end of the novel, but the main conflicts are resolved, as Wylie finally figures out what is really going on.
HarperChildren’s Audio

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