Ruby loves her elder sister, Jinn. After all, Jinn has taken the place of her mother – literally since Lara’s death. Jinn is like a star; Ruby, herself, is very different, happy to live in Jinn’s shadow, seeing herself as an outsider. But life is all right, despite the tragic accident of Alex Jerrold – is it Ruby’s fault? And then there are the murdered girls. However, when Nathan Baird turns up, Jinn changes. Ruby finds herself neglected. How can she save her older sister? Then Jinn goes missing; will it be her body that is found floating in the sea?
This is a gritty, contemporary young adult novel for those who are already reading Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess and Helen Grant. Borrowing motifs that will be familiar not just from the newspapers but from crime dramas currently shown on television, Gillian Philip combines them with the more traditional themes of the teen novel – relationships both within the family as well as between young people, growing up and the pressures faced by teenagers today. The result is rich fare – a novel crowded with incident, characters and content. Indeed, it might be considered overcrowded. However, Philip is an intelligent writer making intelligent demands of her reader, crossing genres with confidence. Her heroine, Ruby, is a character one wants to know, her situation familiar territory – but then there is the added menace of the crime novel bringing an extra edge to the whole. Recommended for older, mature readers.