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The killer's cousin /

The killer's cousin /
Werlin, Nancy.
Copies: 0; non-reservable

After being acquitted of murder, seventeen-year-old David goes to stay with relatives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he finds himself forced to face his past as he learns more about his strange young cousin Lily.
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Call NumberBranchStatusVolume

 catalog record

Control No. 312313
LCCN 98012950
ISBN 0385325606
ISBN 9780385325608
Author Werlin Nancy
Title The killer's cousin / -- Nancy Werlin.
Publisher Information New York : -- Delacorte Press, -- c1998.
Physical Description 229 p. ; -- 22 cm.
Summary After being acquitted of murder, seventeen-year-old David goes to stay with relatives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he finds himself forced to face his past as he learns more about his strange young cousin Lily.
Subject Emotional problems Fiction
Subject Cousins Fiction
Subject Guilt Fiction
Subject Murder Fiction
Subject Family problems Fiction

 annotations (3)

Annotation 1 After being acquitted of murder, seventeen-year-old David goes to stay with relatives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he finds himself forced to face his past as he learns more about his strange young cousin Lily.

Annotation 2 Recently acquitted of murder, seventeen-year-old David moves in with his aunt and uncle to finish his last year of high school but endures an unwelcoming attic room, his aunt's coldness, and his hostile younger cousin.

Annotation 3 Recently acquitted of murder, 17-year-old David has moved to Massachusetts to complete his senior year of high school. His aunt and uncle have offered him shelter--escape from the media's incessant questions and from the uncertain glances of his neighbors and ex-friends.

His attic apartment doesn't feel much like a shelter, though. He sees ghostly shadows at night, his aunt is strangely cold, and his 11-year-old cousin Lily is downright hostile. And as Lily's behavior becomes more and more threatening, David can't help but wonder what ugly secrets lurk within the walls of Lily's home.

There's one thing David knows with certainty. The more he learns about his cousin Lily, the harder it is to avoid thinking about his own past.


 reviews (8)

The Book Report Reviews 1999 May-June
After being acquitted of murder, 17-year-old David goes to stay with relatives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to finish high school. There he is forced to deal with both his past and his 11-year-old cousin Lily, who has secrets of her own. Neither Lily nor her parents have recovered from the suicide of Lily's older sister four years earlier. As David begins school, he moves from numbness to real involvement with his surroundings, particularly as Lily's behavior toward him becomes more bizarre. The story culminates with David saving Lily as she tries to destroy herself because she murdered her sister. This suspense/mystery story keeps the reader wanting more of David's story as it is revealed bit by bit throughout the book. It gradually becomes clear that David and Lily are very much alike-they must both live with having killed. Adult characters are one dimensional but true to form. This story will appeal to the dark side of loss and hurt. Killing is not an answer--in both cases the deaths were tragic accidents--but we are ultimately responsible for the consequence of our choices and actions whether or not we understand them at the time. Optional Purchase. By Deb Grove, Media Specialist, Papillion-LaVista High School, Papillion, Nebraska © 1999 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 September 1998
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 7^-12. In this utterly terrifying psychodrama, a teenager already laboring under a crushing load of guilt finds himself cleverly, relentlessly stalked by his 11-year-old cousin. David killed his lover. The fact that it was accidental and that he's been acquitted of her murder, matters to him not at all. To finish high school and perhaps find a way to live with himself, he moves away from home to stay with Massachusetts relatives, where, in an attic apartment that may be haunted, he lives above a family driven seriously dysfunctional by a daughter's apparent suicide four years before. His hosts' remaining daughter, Lily, greets him coldly and starts a campaign of surreptitious harassment designed to enrage him beyond control. Why? Powerless to stop her and unable to make her parents believe that she needs help, David hangs on grimly, meanwhile trying to fit in at a new school and finding there an unexpected friend. Positioning her characters in an intricate, shadowy web of secrets, deception, bad choices, family feuds, and ghostly warnings, Werlin winds the tension to an excruciating point, then releases it in a fiery climax: realizing in the nick of time that he's not the only killer in the family, David races into a burning house to save Lily from suicide, then promises her that she won't be alone with her anguish any longer. With this tautly plotted thriller, rich in complex, finely drawn characters, Werlin more than fulfills the promise of her first novel, Are You Alone on Purpose? (1994). ((Reviewed September 1, 1998)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Horn Book Guide Reviews 1999
Recently acquitted of the murder of his girlfriend, seventeen-year-old David moves in with his aunt and uncle to attend school in Boston. His eleven-year-old cousin, Lily, begins to exhibit malicious behavior toward him, and the thriller unfolds tantalizingly slowly as David learns additional details about Lily's sister's death four years ago. Young adults will eat this one up. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Guide Reviews

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1999 #1
When seventeen-year-old David Yaffe moves into the third floor of his aunt and uncle's Cambridge, Massachusetts, triple-decker, he already has a lot going against him, but the antagonism his relatives display increases his troubles. Recently acquitted of the murder of his girlfriend in a nationally publicized trial, David struggles to come to terms with the way that the events of the past year have changed his life. His eleven-year-old cousin, Lily, exhibits malicious behavior that escalates from eavesdropping and taunting to "guerrilla attacks" on David's apartment-strewing trash, destroying computer files, gluing CDs into their cases. Consumed by problems in their marriage dating back to the death of their older daughter Kathy four years before, Lily's parents refuse to recognize her disturbing actions and attitude. Expertly paced, the thriller unfolds tantalizingly slowly, as David learns additional details about Kathy's death and Lily's involvement. As the narrator, he also withholds the full story of his girlfriend's death until the very end, which both adds to the suspense and appropriately reflects his longing for privacy and anonymity. His deep-rooted sense of guilt and loss color his thoughts and cast doubt in the reader's mind about his innocence. Everyday details such as David's adjustment to a new school and his interest in "The X-Files" ground the story in reality. Young adults will eat this one up. anne st. john Copyright 1999 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

PW Reviews 2000 January #5
"Many secrets bubble just beneath the surface of this skillful thriller narrated by a high-school senior who has been accused and acquitted of murdering his girlfriend," said PW in a starred review. Ages 14-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

PW Reviews 1998 October #4
Many secrets bubble just beneath the surface of this skillful thriller narrated by a high-school senior who has been accused and acquitted of murdering his girlfriend. David Yaffe moves from Baltimore to Cambridge to avoid publicity, but instead of finding refuge with Uncle Vic, Aunt Julia and cousin Lily, he is shown to their attic apartment and expected to fend for himself. His relatives appear to be conducting a cold war. Still blaming each other for their daughter Kathy's suicide four years ago, Julia and Vic have stopped speaking to each other. The one who suffers the most from their silence is 11-year-old Lily, who shows signs of being emotionally disturbed. Suspense rises to a feverish pitch as pieces of a complex puzzle fall into place, involving Kathy's death and Julia and Vic's estrangement from each other and from David's parents. Even Kathy's ghost seems to make an appearance, imploring David to "help Lily." Meanwhile, Lily is doing everything she can to turn her parents against him. David's attempts to pull the family together fail miserably until, in the aftermath of a chilling climax, he confronts his own demons as he attempts to help Lily dispel hers. The novel's gothic flavor, compelling minor characters (David's skinhead friend, Frank, and Raina, a college student and artist) and subtle exploration of guilt and complicity add texture to this tense psychological drama. Werlin (Are You Alone on Purpose?) leaves enough unanswered questions to make readers want to keep lights burning a little longer than usual. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews

SLJ Reviews 1998 November
Gr 8 Up-David Yaffe, 18, having recently been acquitted of murdering his girlfriend, is sent to live in Cambridge, MA, with his aunt Julia, uncle Vic, and cousin Lily to repeat his senior year of high school. Lily, 11, is resentful of his presence; she feels that her dead sister Kathy's room is rightfully hers, and that he should not be staying in it. Lily taunts and torments David until he begins to doubt his own sanity. His emotional fragility is compellingly revealed as he works through the loss of his girlfriend and the complicity he feels over her death. Readers see Lily through David's eyes; she is alternately depicted as the troubled child of dysfunctional parents, a spoiled brat, and a truly evil character. She plays on his fears and pushes David to the edge until he realizes what he has always known: that she, too, is a killer. This psychological thriller will keep readers involved and should appeal to fans of Lois Duncan and Joan Lowery Nixon.-Michele Snyder, Chappaqua Public Library, NY Copyright 1998 School Library Journal

VOYA Reviews 1998 October
@1ST PARA TX:As this suspenseful book opens, seventeen-year-old David Bernard Yaffe has just been acquitted from the murder of his girlfriend Emily and sent to live with his Uncle Vic, Aunt Julia, and eleven-year-old cousin Lily in Cambridge,Massachusetts, to finish out his senior year.@TX:David is given the attic apartment to live in, the same place where Vic and Julia's eighteen-year-old daughter, Kathy, committed suicide four years ago. Since then, tension has been high in the Shaughnessy household and David's presence onlycompounds matters. David knows that Julia has a problem with him being there, but Lily seems to especially resent David. She hates the fact that he has Kathy's apartment and that he encourages Vic and Julia to talk to each other directly and notthrough her. She constantly needles and taunts David, and eventually starts vandalizing his apartment.To make matters worse, David thinks he is being haunted. At first, he thinks it is Emily, but he soon comes to realize that the humming and indistinct shape he sees is Kathy. As David learns more about Kathy's death, he realizes that Lily knows moreabout it than anyone suspects and that Kathy desperately wants him to help Lily in some way. Over time, David is able to help Lily and also begin the healing process in his own life.Although we are slowly able to piece together what happened with David and Emily, The Killer's Cousin

is clearly Lily's story. David and Lily are sympathetic characters, who compel readers to discover the whole truth behind their stories. Oncethey get started, readers will be hard pressed to put this book down. $MD Melissa Thacker. Copyright 1998 Voya Reviews


 author biography

Nancy Werlin was born and raised in Massachusetts and now lives in South Boston.  Since receiving her bachelor's degree from Yale College, she has worked as a technical writer in the field of computer software.  She was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start author for her first novel, Are You Alone on Purpose?, which was selected as an ALA Quick Pick.

From the Paperback edition.

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