After being a key figure in the exposing of government corruption, Max Stein has spent a quiet semester abroad in Paris, studying, staying off the Internet, and looking for his long-lost mother. But just as he is about to fly back to the United States for the holidays, trouble manages to find him once again.
Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village. These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared --- and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters --- and of the Beast they believe guides them --- rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.
Hattie’s summer is not going according to plan. Her two best friends have abandoned her: Reuben has run off to Europe to “find himself” and Kat is in Edinburgh with her new girlfriend. Meanwhile Hattie is stuck babysitting her twin siblings and dealing with the endless drama surrounding her mother’s wedding. And she’s also just discovered that she’s pregnant with Reuben’s baby. Then Gloria --- Hattie’s great-aunt who no one even knew existed --- comes crashing into her life. Gloria’s fiercely independent, rather too fond of a gin sling, and is in the early stages of dementia.
When her best friend vanishes without so much as a good-bye, 18-year-old Piper Sail takes on the role of amateur sleuth in an attempt to solve the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance. Given that Piper’s tendency has always been to butt heads with high-society’s expectations of her, it’s no surprise that she doesn’t give a second thought to searching for answers to Lydia’s abduction from their privileged neighborhood. As Piper discovers that those answers might stem from the corruption strangling 1924 Chicago --- and quite possibly lead back to the doors of her affluent neighborhood --- she must decide if she’s willing to risk her life of privilege for the sake of the truth.
Sally Jones is not only a loyal friend, she’s an extraordinary individual. In overalls or in a maharaja’s turban, this unique gorilla moves among humans without speaking but understanding everything. She and the Chief are devoted comrades who operate a cargo boat. A job they are offered pays big bucks, but the deal ends badly, and the Chief is falsely convicted of murder.
Seventeen-year-old Raychel is sleeping with two boys: her overachieving best friend Matt...and his slacker brother, Andrew. Raychel sneaks into Matt’s bed after nightmares, but nothing ever happens. He doesn’t even seem to realize she’s a girl, except when he decides she needs rescuing. But Raychel doesn't want to be his girl anyway. She just needs his support as she deals with the classmate who assaulted her, the constant threat of her family’s eviction, and the dream of college slipping quickly out of reach.