Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of Daughter by Kate McLaughlin

by Kate McLaughlin
Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group
Imprint: Wednesday Books
Release date: March 8, 2022
ISBN: 9781250817440

Scarlet has no idea why her professional single mother is so strict and paranoid. Nothing ever happens in their small town. All that changes with the arrival of an odd SUV that seems to be following and watching her. Her life is irrevocably changed when she discovers she is Baby Brittany–daughter of the infamous serial killer, Jeff Lake–and he is willing to reveal where the undiscovered bodies are hidden, but only to her.

From the horrific premise to the cat and mouse games played by a manipulative adult, this psychological thriller keeps a fairly steady pace of revelations and deeper secrets. Scarlet’s character is realistically flawed and the tension of the dual life of her mother is sympathetically portrayed. The single narrative keeps the plot easy to follow with snippets of historical publications to ground the events of the past. The otherwise macabre story is redeemed as Scarlet reclaims her identity and seeks to move focus to the victims in the only way she knows how–through her video equipment. 

Readers who are fascinated by the workings of a criminal mind and the spectacle surrounding high profile murder stories will remain engaged in this story that pits a teen against a killer a la The Silence of the Lambs. Fans of Tiffany D. Jackson’s thrillers and Trell by Dick Lehr will find themselves living vicariously through Scarlet.

Jodi Kruse

Other Nominated Titles

  • Remember Me Gone by Stacy Stokes (March 22, 2022)
  • Bad Girls Never Say Die by Jennifer Mathieu (October 19, 2021)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.