In the summer of 1984, fourteen-year-old Frankie Jubilee is shuttled off to Litani, Minnesota, to live with her estranged mother, a county prosecutor she barely knows. When a bullying gang of girls invites Frankie to play "The Game," she accepts, determined to find out what's really going on in Litani. Frankie fears that, even in the bright light of day, she might be living among monsters.
This even-handed look at real events that rocked America is laudable, not only for the way it examines the many flawed people involved, but also for how much it deeply cares about the victims of abuse. Frankie is a terrific protagonist, a young teen with emotionally fraught relationships with her parents, who is doing her best to honor the good in them while processing the hurt inherent in how they failed her ... This page-turner has chills aplenty as we root desperately for Frankie to prevail against the forces that threaten to overwhelm and destroy her. A neat bonus for readers, especially those of us who grew up devouring pop culture in the 80s, is the inclusion of Frankie’s Choose Your Own Adventure-inspired botanical illustrations. But even readers who don’t care about illustrations will find Litani another terrific, heartfelt entry to Ms. Lourey’s thriller oeuvre.
... [a] tense and deeply layered novel ... There is so much good stuff and not a single wasted word in Litani ... Lourey has accomplished quite a feat here with a coming-of-age novel buried inside a very dark psychological thriller that deals with some of the most vile crimes adults commit against children. You will get through this darkness because Frankie Jubilee is your beacon of light, and you will not be disappointed in the ending. I really appreciated the Litani Editing Playlist at the end of the story, featuring all of the songs from 1984 that Frankie listened to and probably had on various mix tapes.