Review: The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer

Published by Scholastic Press
Released May 1, 2010
352 pages
Where I got it: Public library
Rating: 3 stars

When Abby finds the body of school star, Jefferson Andrews, dead, her thoughts immediately turn to convincing everybody that her drugged-out, unpredictable sister Maya is not the killer. Everybody suspects Maya did it: the police, the kids at school, even Abby’s parents.  But Abby has always protected Maya from the bad things around her, so she launches an investigation of her own, taking her through the worst neighborhoods in town, and uncovering Jefferson Andrews’ dark side.  But will it be enough to keep Maya out of prison?

Schrefer has written an engaging mystery that will lead the reader on what feels like a wild goose chase as we follow Abby’s decisions and maneuvers throughout the story.  Maya is definitely a troubled sister: the yang to Abby’s ying, but we can’t help but feel sorry for her as we view her through Abby’s eyes.  At times, it seemed that Jefferson got what he deserved, although no teenager really deserves to be murdered.  As the story progresses, characters are brought to the forefront to suggest who may actually be the killer.

The ending fell a bit flat for me, though.  The killer was who I had suspected, but I didn’t like the execution of the big reveal.  It’s a fine line between laying down too many clues, and making the reader take a leap of faith to force puzzle pieces to fit together.  I think others may be really happy with the way the story resolves, though.  It just didn’t suit me personally.  I will say that the murderer is one of the most chilling YA killers I’ve read.  Watch out for red herrings in this one!

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