Four Letter Word (Hardcover)

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Four Letter Word (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


Thrills abound with this high concept of charming foreign exchange student as possible serial killer up in the cold, fog-drenched far northern California Pacific coast. McNeil's strength is her fantastic character development and realistic dialogue in this creepy suspense adventure. Not to be missed -- Ciao!

(YA thriller, ages 14+) - Find more Staff Picks by Maureen

— Maureen

In this pulse pounding thriller, Izzy and her family welcome an exchange student into their home. But after a series of mishaps and coincidences, and with a serial killer on the loose, Izzy begins to suspect the young man is not who he seems.

For most of her life, Izzy has been looking forward to fulfilling her mother’s dream of studying abroad in Italy. Going into her senior year, Izzy is counting down the days until she can leave her humdrum life behind, until Alberto, a handsome and mysterious Italian exchange student shows up for his stay with her family. Now life in her hometown doesn’t seem so drab, as Izzy, and everyone else, is immediately charmed by Alberto and his irresistible accent.
But something about Alberto isn’t quite…right. As an avid true crime fan, Izzy has been following a serial killer case in San Francisco and the murderer, whose description bears a passing resemblance to the Italian exchange student living in her house, seems to have made his way north. As Izzy pays closer attention to Alberto—his actions, his temper—she finds more and more holes in his story that he has trouble explaining away.
When a local girl is murdered, Izzy thinks Alberto might not be who he seems. Worse, a series of “accidents” seem to target Izzy herself. In a race against the clock, Izzy must convince anyone that Alberto could be a notorious killer before another girl ends up dead.
Gretchen McNeil is the author of twelve young adult novels, including #MurderTrending, the #1 YALSA Teens' Top Ten pick of 2019; Ten which was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and was adapted as the Lifetime original movie Ten: Murder Island in 2017; and Get Even and Get Dirty, adapted as the BBC/Netflix series Get Even and Rebel Cheer Squad..  You can find her online at www.GretchenMcNeil.com, on Instagram @Gretchen_McNeil, and on Twitter @GretchenMcNeil.
Product Details ISBN: 9781368097437
ISBN-10: 136809743X
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: March 5th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English
McNeil (Three Drops of Blood) doles out clever clues and plot twists to keep the action moving and raise the stake—and death toll—of this entertaining mystery toward a life-and-death, storm-raging finish. – Publishers Weekly
 
 
Readers will root for the multidimensional hero of this twisty whodunit with heart that’s sure to surprise and scare. – Kirkus, Most Anticipated Books of 2024
 
 
Readers will be cheering Izzy on as she uses wits and grit to outmaneuver a killer who is determined to make her the next victim as she gets closer to the truth. McNeil adeptly creates believable characters and a detailed portrait of a small Northwestern town. VERDICT A story of personal growth wrapped up in high-stakes thrills. Recommended for libraries with many teen thrill-seekers. – School Library Journal