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Scream Site

Review

Scream Site

Justina Ireland, author of YA fantasy novels such as VENGEANCE BOUND and PROMISE OF THE SHADOWS, enters the world of mystery with her new work SCREAM SITE. The novel follows high school freshman Sabrina Sebastian, a budding investigative reporter struggling with her father’s recent death.

Sabrina begins her research after she stumbles upon the creepy website Scream Site, which allows people to post seemingly fake horror videos. Some of the videos, however, seem a bit too real for comfort. After Sabrina researches the local disappearances of young Scream Site stars for the school newspaper and to land her dream internship, Sabrina quickly realizes she is in over her head. Her search for the missing young women leads Sabrina down a dangerous path, becoming more disturbing after her older sister, Faith, goes missing…

"Ireland’s SCREAM SITE will capture the attention of teens looking for a compelling mystery that is entertaining, realistic and not too scary."

Ireland’s SCREAM SITE will capture the attention of teens looking for a compelling mystery that is entertaining, realistic and not too scary. Although the novel focuses upon Sabrina’s investigation into the missing Scream Site stars, Ireland does not lose the emotion behind a high schooler’s motivations --- Sabrina, despite her eagerness to solve the mystery, remains grounded in her relationships with her family and friends. Readers will root for Sabrina and her dedication to her reporting work, despite the backlash she receives from her family, her best friend, Evelyn, and the mysterious figure threatening her investigation.

The emphasis upon high school politics and Evelyn’s concern with her popularity also grounds the novel in Sabrina’s age. Sabrina’s refusal to allow her social status to stop her from investigating the most popular boy in school, Asher, and his connection to the disappearances will encourage readers’ loyalty to Sabrina.

Still, Ireland shies away from tackling the emotional connection between Sabrina’s father’s death and Sabrina’s desire to investigate the mystery. Although her dad’s death is mentioned early within the plot, the detail does not heighten the action of the mystery or the reader’s connection to Sabrina. Instead, this unexamined detail pulls attention away from the unfolding mystery, sometimes dampening the thrilling aspect of the novel.

Readers will savor Ireland’s creepy descriptions of the danger Sabrina faces as she ventures deeper into the mystery. In all, young fans of thrillers will find SCREAM SITE a satisfying read for the end of summer.

Reviewed by Janine Chouinard on September 4, 2018

Scream Site
by Justina Ireland