Feathered by Laura Kasischke. (Grades 9+)
It's spring break. Anne and Michelle are off to sunny Mexico to escape the cold and blow off some steam. They'll lay on the beach, have drinks with cute guys, maybe explore some Mayan ruins, and then they'll come back to face the rest of their senior year. What could go wrong?
As it turns out, a lot can go wrong.
Feathers starts out somewhat ominously and builds tension until it reaches a fever pitch when something terrible happens to one of the girls. The inclusion of Mayan legends brings something original to the plot and I thought it was very interesting. The main characters of Anne and Michelle are fleshed out well, with lots of little details about them that really bring them to life.
I wish the secondary characters had been as well developed at the main characters, especially Terri, the third friend who is on vacation with them. She doesn't seem to serve much purpose in the story and I wonder why she's there at all. The story is told through the alternative viewpoints of Anne and Michelle, with Anne in first-person past tense and Michelle in third-person present tense. I liked getting both perspectives, but I wish they had been in either the same person or the same tense. Every time it switched back and forth I felt like it was very jarring. (Some readers have liked the narration the way it is, so maybe it's just me...)
That said, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to teens who like thrillers. It's a little offbeat in a good way.
Read more reviews at librarian by day, Sarah Miller's blog, The Story Siren, and Bildungsroman.