August 16, 2010
In Arthur's first YA novel, which kicks off the Mystyx series, 15-year-old Krystal Bentley is coping with her parents' divorce, a move from New York City to the Connecticut hinterlands, a hostile stepfather—and ghosts. They follow her, beg for her help, and give her screaming nightmares. It isn't until she is approached by Sasha and Jake, two of her new classmates, that she can even imagine there might be others who are trying to make sense of untellable secrets. But while the three share their knowledge, paranormal abilities (Sasha can teleport, and Jake has superhuman strength), and a mysterious "M" birthmark, more is needed to make these strangers into friends. Arthur has uneven control over the pacing and voice of her narrative, and the world-building may cause some eye rolling (cliques at Krystal's new school include the wealthy "Richies" and "Trackers" who live "past the railroad tracks"). But the flaws in her technique do not obscure the deeply felt difficulties of Krystal's situation and her struggles with the "grown folks' business" that threaten to overwhelm her. Ages 13–up.