When Meggie Alexander is in her fifteenth year her friends begin disappearing. Sometimes they are found dead. Everyone in town is terrified, but no one can figure out who or what is doing the killing...or why. Is there a connection between the murders? Is it the work of a madman?
Meggie vows not to live under the shadow of fear. Resolved to end the killing, she and her friends conduct their own investigation. What they discover is more bizarre than they ever thought possible. The answer has as much to do with life as it does with death. And their salvation lies somewhere in the knowledge of Meggie's nursery memories of a spider's gossamer tales.
Award-winning author Joyce Carol Thomas has created a spellbinding novel about one woman's journey away from fear and ignorance toward understanding and love.
In a magical, poetic prologue, Meggie, in her cradle, is blessed by a tarantula: "Shimmer when you jump; glitter when you walk..."
At 15, Meggie is a happy member of a nice black family living in the beautiful area bordering the Eucalyptus Forest, near Berkeley. But terrible things are happening: teenagers are being killed in the forest; Meggie herself finds one of the bodies. She goes through a bizarre run-in with the villains, who turn out to be collecting young hearts to transplant into rich, elderly youth-seekers; and with the aid of her spider friends and a boyfriend, she triumphs over them.
Thomas dramatically juxtaposes her story’s horror with the joy of existence; and her appealing heroine, fast pace, and SF overtones will absorb readers. The book is distinguished by a lyrical style grounded in the black experience. Thomas has neatly integrated into her plot a celebration of the value of black youth (especially teen-age males) and the message that fear is overcome when we "carry a light in our heart". Kirkus Review
"Appealing heroine, fast pace, and SF overtones will absorb readers." Voya
Excerpts from the book:
"Alton!" Meggie finally screamed so abruptly that the name loosed her throat, straightened out all the crooked words and now she screamed that she had found Alton... between screaming hiccups... dead.
"Alton? Who’s Alton?" her mother asked as she crawled out of bed to call the law.
"You don’t mean the Alton Gillespie you told me about yesterday?"
First Billy Watson. Now Alton Gillespie. Why?
Lightning zipped through Meggie’s throbbing head.
Text © 1988 Joyce Carol Thomas. Jacket © 1987 Paul Davis. Cover © 1988 Scholastic Inc.