Rachel died at two a.m . . . Three hours after Skyler kissed me for the first time. Forty-five minutes after she sent me her last text.
Jaycee and Rachel were best friends. But that was before. . .before that terrible night at the old house. Before Rachel shut Jaycee out. Before Jaycee chose Skyler over Rachel. Then Rachel is found dead. The police blame a growing gang problem in their small town, but Jaycee is sure it has to do with that night at the old house. Rachel’s text is the first clue—starting Jaycee on a search that leads to a shocking secret. Rachel’s death was no random crime, and Jaycee must figure out who to trust before she can expose the truth.
Praise for DEAD GIRLS DON'T LIE
Six months ago, a fight over a guy officially broke up the already disintegrating friendship between sixteen-year-old Jaycee and her best friend, Rachel. Now Rachel is dead, shot through her bedroom window, a drive-by victim in a gang war that has supposedly followed the Mexican migrant workers in Jaycee’s small farm town. Jaycee’s not buying any of it, however, and although she is initially driven mostly by her guilt over not answering Rachel’s last text message—a cryptic plea sent directly to Jaycee—she knows she’s onto something when her questions incur the wrath of the local football god and his sheriff brother. One of Rachel’s old friends from the migrant community warns Jaycee off, as does her own father, and soon Jaycee is left trusting only Skyler—the boy she ignored Rachel’s last text for and who is suddenly keeping secrets of his own. The players in Rachel’s murder are all fairly obvious from the beginning, but the ways in which they are involved and the motivations behind their actions remain ambiguous until the final reveal, making readers question along with Jaycee who they know and what the truth really is. Shaw wisely stays away from any climax that brings resolution to the obviously thick and long-held racial tensions that foreground this particular crisis; there is little redemption for the two communities, just the tentative connection between two former friends of a dead girl. Jaycee is a bit clueless at times, particularly when it comes to Skyler, but it’s an authentic adolescent naïveté that insists that the people she has known from childhood must be good people, if only for that reason. Mystery fans will find this a satisfying way to spend an evening. KQG --Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
But can dead girls help solve their own murders?
Rachel and Jaycee used to be best friends until Latina Rachel started hanging out with an emerging gang population in their small town. After Rachel is shot in her home and the police write off her death as a gang-related accident, it’s up to Jaycee to track down her friend’s killer. In this satisfying mystery, Jaycee has plenty of offers for help: There’s new boyfriend Skyler, Skyler’s older brother (and high school cad), law enforcement, an ex-gang member and, most prominently, a variety of messages Rachel, realizing her death could be imminent, hid before her murder. As Jaycee uncovers her small town’s biggest secrets, she never knows whom she can fully trust, especially when her own life is in jeopardy. She must also reckon with her developing, personal moral code when her religious single father sets strict limits that impede her investigation and blossoming first love with Skyler. While the story covers such mature issues as murder, mental illness and racism, it refrains from edgy language and sex (only a few steamy kisses take place).
...The story’s greatest strength is in keeping readers guessing the killer’s real identity until the final scenes. (Mystery. 14 & up)--Kirkus Reviews