MARIAH FREDERICKS is the author of the bestselling novel "The True Meaning of Cleavage, " which Meg Cabot called "laugh-out-loud funny and way twisted!" She is also the author of "Head Games, Crunch Time, "and the In the Cards series. Visit her at www.mariahfredericks.com.
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, February 20, 2012: Rain s voice provides an authentic portrait of grief and powerlessness, while Fredericks (Crunch Time) offers profound, provocative commentary on what it means to grow up in the age of Facebook. Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2012: "[B]oth Rain and Wendy emerge as fully rounded, flawed characters that teens will recognize and connect with. A satisfying whodunit with enough clues and red herrings to keep mystery fans happy." Booklist, April 1, 2012: "Fredericks has constructed a taut, suspenseful mystery with convincing characters whose actions and motives propel the plot. Rain is an unusual, compelling protagonist, a watcher who must step reluctantly out of her comfort zone. Observant readers...will find as much satisfaction in observing Rain s personal growth as in the solving of the intriguing mystery.""" School Library Journal, May 2012: "The story starts off slowly, gradually building to a surprise ending. Rather than a heavy-handed explanation of Rain s cleft palate, details are sprinkled throughout the story, building readers understanding of her communication difficulties and readers compassion for her." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May 2012: "The mystery unravels amidst a sensitive exploration of Rain s coming to terms with her own quiet, demure personality, with its flaws and its advantages measured against Wendy s extroversion and desire for recognition and love. The crime itself offers up multiple suspects before a triumphant resolution tinged with melancholy, a conclusion that highlights the fact that while growth is certainly possible, some people, unfortunately, never make it past the slights of high school." VOYA, February 2012: "As in her previous novels, Fredericks paints a perceptive picture of teens and their struggles with social pressures. Rain is an interesting protagonist to follow as she tries to overcome her own issues in order to defend her friend who can no longer speak for herself. Fredericks creates believable adult characters as well, which is too often not the case in teen novels. The very real mystery of the story is a riveting background for Rain s self-struggle, and the plot twists make this a true page-turner. This book will find a ready audience in fans of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti who are looking for something a bit edgier.""
Fredericks's haunting psychological thriller is filtered through the watchful eyes of high school student Rain, as she looks into the death of her classmate Wendy, who is found murdered in Central Park the night after a party. Both outsiders, Rain and Wendy used to be close, but by their junior year they have grown apart. Rain, self-conscious about a speech impediment that is the result of a cleft palate, is a reticent observer of life, while Wendy is, on the surface, an attention-seeking, relationship-wrecking party girl from Long Island. Devastated by Wendy's death and protective of the late teenager's reputation, which is being trashed in the tabloids and at school, Rain fishes around for information, putting herself at risk. Fredericks's mystery unfolds gracefully, revealing the rich inner life that Rain is so reluctant to share, as well as a complex portrait of Wendy, the kind of girl people "love to hate." Rain's voice provides an authentic portrait of grief and powerlessness, while Fredericks (Crunch Time) offers profound, provocative commentary on what it means to grow up in the age of Facebook. Ages 14-up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 9 Up-Wendy Geller had the reputation of being a wild party girl at her elite private school, but Rain knows that her best friend wanted to fit in and to be popular. She also knows that Wendy earned a lot of enemies by going after popular girls' boyfriends. When the teen turns up dead after a party, Rain is determined to find out what happened. She is also an outcast; the other kids make fun of her speech difficulties due to a cleft palate. But in order to find the murderer, she has to force herself out of the background. Talking to some of the in crowd gives her a new perspective on her classmates, and her search leads her to several suspects. When she discovers the true killer, it nearly tears the school apart. Rain finds her voice and realizes she must speak out for her friend who can no longer speak for herself. The story starts off slowly, gradually building to a surprise ending. Rather than a heavy-handed explanation of Rain's cleft palate, details are sprinkled throughout the story, building readers' understanding of her communication difficulties and readers' compassion for her.-Diana Pierce, Leander High School, TX (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.