Serritella’s debut is a sweeping and beguiling novel ... Serritella, who is a Harvard grad herself, writes about the campus with an insider’s savvy. She takes readers on jaunts into forgotten graveyards and spooky 'whispering wall' corners. Oddly, the one area where Serritella’s firsthand knowledge of Harvard falters is in some of the classroom scenes ... a rich, intricately plotted thriller that gathers suspense velocity as Cady runs through the mazelike halls of academe and the winding streets of Cambridge, chasing after clues to the more sinister circumstances of Eric’s death. It’s a testament to Serritella’s sure touch that when Cady’s ghostly companions ultimately make their final departures, Harvard seems duller.
... a many-faceted first novel ... Serritella makes keen use of quantum theories about time and simultaneity in this busily plotted, emotionally astute, thoughtfully paranormal, witty, and suspenseful drama involving historical figures, academic ruthlessness, and the tragic riddles of mental illness. Serritella has also created a sensitive and searching tale about the courage and fortitude of a smart young woman in mourning and in peril.
Those who like novels by Joe Hill and Pat Conroy will also enjoy this his first novel by Lisa Scottoline's nonfiction coauthor (and daughter). The book begins as thriller and ends as a story of personal growth and redemption. The writing is vivid and engaging, and it works for adults as well as for mature young adult readers.
The question of Cady’s mental health is interesting, and Serritella...brings the famous campus to life in a vivid way. She also effectively explores the aftermath of loss and grief on a family. But Serritella is on shaky ground once the story veers into the supernatural. Cady’s conversations with the ghosts are tiresome and ultimately don’t add much to the narrative. In fact, they detract from what could have been a solid psychological thriller. Her conversations with Bilhah, a slave who is terrified her son will be sold away from her, feel uncomfortably like pandering. The book is repetitive and far too long, and though the endgame strives to shock readers with twists, it's ultimately unsatisfying. A thriller that fails when it turns to the supernatural.
Serritella debuts with a brisk, entertaining coming-of-age story ... Serritella has a wonderful touch for her secondary characters—there’s a Professor Hines who is a note-perfect caricature of a tenured Harvard professor—and Cady herself has a great voice. Readers of campus mysteries will love this surprising and intricate bildungsroman.