Kings & Queens, by Courtney Vail, is a YA thriller of the first magnitude. When seventeen year old Majesty overhears two young men plotting to massacre a church full of people. She does the responsible thing and contacts the police. They basically ignore her because she’s been hounding them to investigate her father’s recent death.
This is a complex novel, full of skillfully interwoven plot threads that come together beautifully in the end. Twists throughout the story leave it unpredictable and suspenseful.
The teenaged target audience for this book will easily relate to Majesty’s frustration at being ignored, her boyfriend dilemmas, and her horror at suspecting someone close to her may be involved. Majesty is tough when she needs to be and very vulnerable at other times. Her mood swings as well as her love of baseball will cause readers to empathize with her.
In fact, all the characters in this book have a compelling depth. Even the minor characters have complex backstories, just like real people. Vail’s writing style places you right into Majesty’s high school as you get to know her classmates and process their actions. Hang in there as you are tossed about a bit–the story will straighten out and make sense if you follow it through.
I very much enjoyed this novel. It’s not a fluff read. It takes some thinking to remember who exactly the characters are, but it’s worth it. And it has a beautiful cover.