THE VIOLENT SEASON by Sara Walters

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I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.

Every November in Wyatt’s hometown, someone becomes a murderer. One year it was a teacher who drowned her two children in a bathtub. One year, it was a classmate who drove her own car off a cliff. No one knows who last year’s murderer was. But the victim was Wyatt’s mother.

This November, Wyatt is noticing bloodlust around her, especially in Cash (the boy she’s been hooking up with) and herself. Maybe it’s not so much a desire for blood as a memory of her mother’s blood pooling on the stairs when Wyatt returned home and found her. The police claim they have another suspect–an out-of-towner–but Wyatt knows they have the wrong man. After all, the November curse only affects the people of her town, and her mother’s murder must be part of the curse. When a class project pairs Wyatt up with the object of Cash’s hatred, Porter Dawes, Wyatt finally finds a willing ally in her own investigation into the November curse and her mother’s death. As Wyatt’s association with Porter sparks Cash’s anger and her investigations uncover secrets she wishes had stayed buried, Wyatt begins to realize that whether or not the November curse is real, the violence in her life is far from over.

YA readers who like horrifying thrillers (or thrilling horror?) won’t be able to stop turning these pages. Themes of abuse run underneath the suspenseful thriller plot adding depth to this high-concept story. Though the premise might sound like a mystery, it is really more on the thriller/horror border and will most satisfy readers of those genres.

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