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White Rabbit: A YA Whodunit

White Rabbit, by Caleb Roehrig, (Apr. 2018, Feiwel & Friends), $17.99, ISBN: 9781250085658

Recommended for readers 13+

Rufus Holt started out having a great evening at his best friend’s birthday party, but things have gone downhill pretty quickly. His ex-boyfriend, Sebastian – who ghosted him after Rufus told him he loved him – showed up at the party, looking for him, and his younger half-sister, April, called him and begged for his help. When Rufus and Sebastian head over to Fox Whitney’s place, where his sister was partying with the other rich, in-crowd teens, they find April holding a bloody knife, and Fox, laying dead in a pool of blood. Thus starts White Rabbit, a first-person narrated whodunit.

Rufus is the bastard son of a wealthy lawyer who refuses to acknowledge him. Unfortunately for Rufus, his half-siblings notice him just fine. He’s the school outcast, bullied and harassed by his borderline sociopath half-brother and his friends, and their rich kid crowd. When he came out, the abuse ratcheted up several notches, but Rufus refuses to break. He starts seeing Sebastian – one of the rich kid in-crowd – on the down-low, but Sebastian broke things off in a panic, afraid of how his parents would react. But Sebastian is back, and wants to try to patch things up with Rufus, so he rides alongĀ  as Rufus spends the night frantically trying to clear April’s name so he can get a payoff from her mother. The killer is still lurking, and systematically killing off anyone who can tie him – or her – to the night’s events, and Rufus is asking way too many questions.

White Rabbit is similar to Natasha Preston’s The Cabin: a group of awful teens with too much money get into trouble and the outcast has to save the day. The pace is fast, and the subplot surrounding Rufus and Sebastian’s relationship will pull readers in and keep them turning pages. Rufus can be a frustrating hero at points; his motivation to help April before the money came into play still makes me scratch my head, but Sebastian emerges as the deeper, more interesting character to follow here. Give this book to your thriller fans.