After a bestselling fantasy writer disappears, only his biggest fan believes he’s in danger. Instead of re-reading his books, she must venture into the real world to uncover the truth in this fast-paced mystery by New York Times-bestselling author April Henry. For readers of Courtney Summers and Karen McManus.
Bridget is RM Haldon's biggest fan. She and her mom sought refuge in Haldron's epic fantasy series Swords and Shadows while her mom was losing her battle with cancer. When Bridget met Haldon at one of his rare book signings, she impressed the author with her encyclopedic knowledge of the fantasy world he'd created. Bridget has been working for him ever since as he attempts to write the final book in his blockbuster sword and sorcery series. But Haldon has gone missing, and Bridget is the only person who seems concerned. Can Bridget piece together Haldon’s cryptic clues and save him before it’s too late?
Master mystery-writer April Henry weaves another heart-stopping young adult thriller in this story that seamlessly blends suspense with an exploration of fan culture.
Christy Ottaviano Books
In this mystery with a clever twist by Henry (Playing with Fire), a George R.R. Martin esque author is forced to write in captivity, his only hope of rescue lying with his teenage Portland, Ore. based assistant. Alternating perspectives, including that of middle-aged Swords and Shadows author R.M. Haldon, or Bob, whose yearslong tardiness on the final book in his epic fantasy series turned TV show has angered many fans; redheaded Bridget Shepherd, 17, who secretly works as Haldon's "continuity supervisor"; and teenage kidnapper Derrick, a "socially inept, geeky pariah," all white, plus Bridget's Indian American classmate and love interest Ajay Kapoor, allow readers to delve into the central players' psyches, presenting a portrait of each individually and in pairs before their combined narratives overlap. The conceit that a fan might kidnap and exploit an author to coerce them into continuing a story feels plausible in Henry's treatment of a simulation gone wrong. Details such as the framing of Haldon's weight loss during confinement and a lingering focus on Ajay lessen the overall effect of this thriller, but its brisk pacing and sensational premise will have wide appeal. Ages 12 up.