Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom by Terry Blas, Molly Muldoon, and Matthew Seely
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Jesse finds herself stuck at Camp Bloom for the summer, a “get fit” camp for overweight teens. Hardly the fun summer at a fashion program she had been hoping for. When she and fellow campers, Noah, Tony, and Kate, witness the murder of a camp counselor in the woods by another staff member, Camp Bloom becomes a whole lot more interesting, not to mention dangerous.
Jesse and company hold the key to solving the murder in a blurry cell phone photo snapped at the crime scene. They must solve the mystery by revealing long-held camp secrets before someone else ends up dead!
Humorous, fast-paced, and quirky, this graphic novel will draw teens in with its diverse and representative cast of characters and its exploration of friendship but will keep readers engrossed with its steady doling out of clues to solve the murder, with plenty of red herrings thrown in for good measure. Easy to navigate panels, well-proportioned trim size, short chapters, and saturated and vivid coloring make this graphic novel easy on the eyes.
Hand to readers of the Lumberjanes series for the camp based follies and the Goldie Vance series for those who want more sleuthing with higher stakes, i.e. murder!
#MURDERTRENDING by Gretchen McNeil
Disney / Freeform
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
As part of the government’s privatization of the prison system, a mysterious individual creates Alcatraz 2.0–an island where convicted murderers are sent to themselves be murdered in gruesome and theatrical ways. The twist? It’s all livestreamed on the internet, and millions tune in to watch the bloodbath and provide running commentary. Dee Guerrera, wrongfully accused of murdering her step sister, becomes an instant celebrity when she foils her own murder by killing the executioner. But how long can she survive?
#MURDERTRENDING is a fast-paced, intense book that does not shy away from the gory details. The concept of the plot–that the American public would be addicted to watching people be slaughtered in real time on the internet–is both disturbing but also thought-provoking. Teens may start to wonder how ridiculous a concept like Alcatraz 2.0 really is considering what is shown live already. Dee and her fellow inmates are quirky and likable, in spite of being convicted murderers.
The use of technology in a near-future setting recalls the cautionary tales of Black Mirror. Fans of slasher films will enjoy the over-the-top, jump-scare executions. This is an excellent update to R.L. Stine’s classic horror novels. Teens who enjoyed Danielle Vega’s The Merciless series will appreciate this as a non-supernatural intense thriller.