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She Said/She Saw

Tegan Tyrell is in the back seat of a car when two of her best friends are shot and killed right in front of her. Despite mounting pressure from police, her own family, and the victims’ families, she maintains she didn’t see who did it and has no idea why someone wanted her friends dead. While Tegan struggles to make people believe her story, her sister Kelly is also working hard to put together the pieces: was the murder drug related, as the police seem to think? Is Tegan just keeping quiet because she’s afraid she’ll be next?

In her latest fast-paced junior crime novel, five-time Arthur Ellis Award­–winner Norah McClintock employs two opposing voices to advance the plot. Tegan tells her story as a traditional narrative, while Kelly’s version of events is laid out as a screenplay.

Kelly is the narrator to identify with; readers will find themselves pulled into her sleuthing. The quick-cut nature of her narrative is also an effective way of taking the reader back and forth in time. A few vignettes go a long way in illustrating the characters involved, both living and dead.

While the novel’s climax is perhaps overly simple, it does provide a nice, clean finish to all the suspense. Both sisters are consistently and sharply written, and the fact that the kids seem to have a better idea of what’s really going on than any of the adults is an added bonus for young readers.

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