By Becca Fitzpatrick
Simon & Schuster, 2010. 391 pgs. Young Adult Fiction
Nora Grey’s father is unexpectedly mugged and killed leaving Nora feeling jumpy, lonely and vulnerable. Her mother is forced to take a new job which requires her to be away from their isolated country home for days at a time. Adding to her problems, Nora feels like she is being watched and followed. These impressions prove true when an unknown assailant begins to harass and threaten her. At the same time, in Nora’s sophomore science class she is strangely paired with a senior student, Patch Cipriano. Nora is intrigued by Patch’s dark good looks and bad boy persona but instinctively feels something is “off” with him. Nora’s best friend, fun loving Vee, develops a friendship with private school transfer student, Elliot. Despite Vee’s protests, Nora doesn’t trust Elliot either. Soon quiet Nora finds things are not as they seem, and her intuition about immediate danger is right.
Becca Fitzpatrick’s first work combines horror and romance in a novel that is sometimes gripping but often implausible. As a romantic foil, Patch should be intriguing enough to feel like otherwise sensible Norah could fall for him, but he’s not. In addition, the pacing of the novel is off. The forthcoming sequel could help explain events that were wrapped up too quickly and succinctly.