Lainey Young is a teenage girl with the ability to “sense” the deaths of people whose possessions she encounters. As the story begins, she is shopping for antiques with her aunt, Tessa, and as Lainey picks up a candlestick, she becomes dizzy and has a vision of a young woman wearing an old-fashioned dress with petticoats and a corset, holding the same candlestick and crying next to the motionless body of an older man whose temple is bleeding. Without any further explanation, Lainey determines that the young woman is the older man’s murderer, having used the candlestick as her weapon. Lainey’s parents, who died when she was five years old, left her a sizeable trust fund, and within their wills, a stipulation that she would be able to attend Northbrook Academy, a boarding school whose population includes students who have “abilities” very similar to Lainey’s —some are able to “see” various happenings, such as whether someone is lying; some have the ability to stop someone’s heart (this “job” is termed “The Hangman,”); and some have the ability to move objects with thoughts. Lainey’s story does not end with neatly tied laces, however. Once her relationship with a popular young man becomes well known, a jealous classmate acts out, causing a multitude of problems.
Fans of paranormal romance, as well as readers who enjoy stories that delve into “what-if,” will certainly enjoy this first installment from Bertrand.—Beth Green, VOYA, Starred Review