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The Leaf Reader

by Emily Arsenault

Published by Soho Teen, 2017
240 pages
ISBN: 978-1-61695-782-7

Age 13 and older

Marnie Wells has taught herself tasseomancy, divination with tea leaves. Now, months after the disappearance of a girl named Andrea, Andreaís best friend, Matt, seeks Marnie out. Mattís been receiving cryptic emails from someone claiming to be Andrea and doesnít know whether to believe itís her. Marnie finds herself drawn to Matt and colliding with the wider circle of friends Andrea was part of, all of them wealthy kids at the upscale high school that Marnie attends only because her grandmother teaches there. Although Andreaís never been found, the police believe the emails are a cruel hoax. Marnie isnít sure. She also isnít sure if Matt can be trusted and the images in the leaves, although open to interpretation, are unsettling. Then Marnie discovers Andrea knew Jimmie, a former friend of Marnieís brother. Everyone has always considered Jimmie troubled but Marnie remembers him from her childhood because of his surprising if misguided attempts to please her. She wants to ask Jimmie about Andrea but the search for him proves frustrating as she knocks on doors, then terrifying when images and insight from the tea leaves lead to a chilling discovery that illuminates a deep and callous class prejudice and disregard for human life. A tense, compelling work that veers into the metaphysical as Marnie comes to terms with a family gift she isnít sure she wants also fits solidly into the genres of mystery and contemporary realistic fiction. ©2017 Cooperative Childrenís Book Center


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