This is the story of Amelia and Riley, bad kids from bad Brookfield High who have transferred to Ashbury High for their final year. They've been in love since they were fourteen, they go out dancing every night, and sleep through school all day. And Ashbury can't get enough of them.
Everyone's trying to get their attention; even teachers are dressing differently, trying to make their classes more interesting. Everyone wants to be cooler, tougher, funnier, hoping to be invited into their cool, self-contained world.
Returning to the setting and characters of her earlier Ashbury High books, Moriarty offers a mosaic composed largely of students' gothic fiction exams, as they write about their final year of school as a ghost story. Enigmatic Riley and Amelia, a beautiful couple on scholarship, are embroiled in many of the narratives. But like a game of telephone, the conjectural haunting changes as interpreted through each student. The students delight, to varying degrees, in playing with the tropes of gothic literature, lending the story an often wicked sense of humor, creating modern and effective ghost stories in the process. "The more I followed Riley and Amelia, the less I knew of they. Who were they? Whenceforward had they come? Why? Why not?" reads a typically breathless passage from Emily (from The Year of Secret Assignments), who returns along with other characters. Fans of the previous books will enjoy clever references to past events, but this book more than stands on its own, as the students' chorus creates a compelling collective portrait of adolescence the limbo between childhood and the shadowed future. Ages 12 up.