The Girl in the Park by Marian Fredericks
When Wendy Geller’s mother calls Raina to see if the teen knows where her daughter is one Sunday morning, Raina is not particularly surprised that Wendy didn’t make it home after the party the previous night. Although her former best friend didn’t seem “trashed” like other party-goers reported to the police, Raina knew that she had been drinking and was determined to hook up with Nico, his possessive girlfriend notwithstanding. But when she learns later that Wendy has been found dead in Central Park, she is devastated and unbelieving. Sure Wendy was a party girl, but she was also the one who told Raina to “speak up,” despite her slight speech impediment, and that Raina had something worth hearing. The newspaper headlines screamed “Who was Wendy Geller? Life of a Party Girl Ends in Violence,” But Raina knew it wasn’t as simple as a random killing. And she makes it her personal business to try and find out what happened, even though it may end up putting her in danger. This book is written in the first person perspective from Raina’s point of view. Readers quickly become immersed in her voice and captivated by her insights and tenacity. Her voice is personal, smart and engaging; I had a hard time putting the book down at all. Readers will appreciate the plot twists and perhaps even be surprised when they finally discover who the murderer was. I recommend this book to all young adult readers, especially ones looking for an engrossing mystery.