Friday, December 9, 2022

The Locker by Richie Tankersley Cusick


There aren't a lot of authors where I read their books and think to myself, "I need to know this person and pick their brain over a coffee. I want to be their friend." But I think that a lot about Richie Tankersley Cusick. Even when I don't LOVE her books, I appreciate what she does with them, and I love how she gives her heroines agency and how her stories always feel like "aged up" versions of the more middle grade-geared installments in the Point Horror line.

Sadly THE LOCKER did not live up to my hopes. To be honest, I didn't really think it would, though. A new girl experiencing suspicion and shady goings-on when she takes the locker of the last "new girl" who mysteriously disappeared? It sounded like some kind of weird retelling of REBECCA involving lockers. ALSO, am I the only one who didn't go to a school with lockers? I feel like a lot of schools had theirs ripped out because kids would use them to hide illicit materials. *cough*

Anyway, Marlee is the new girl and as soon as she opens her locker, she smells something foul. Everyone in town is acting kind of strange about her being new, and even her new friends, Noreen and Tyler, seem like they're hiding something. There's also another suspicious hot guy named Jimmy Frank who also seems like he's hiding something. Marlee navigates her attraction to the two hot guys and her burgeoning friendship with the cheerful but weird Noreen, while experiencing strange nightmares and visions, all tied to the disappearance of the last girl who came to town... and her new locker, of course.

I'm giving this a low rating because I thought the story was stupid. I'm sorry, but there it is. Some of RTC's stories are beautifully plotted and wildly inventive, and some are pulp trash. There's no shame in it, but it is what it is. That said, I do appreciate that she includes suggestive dialogue (makes the teens feel like teens), has heroines who are kind of bold and take-charge, and always includes not one but TWO suspicious hot guys. The heroine even spies on one of them as he's getting changed in his window. That feels like something a teen girl would actually do, you know? And it's unusual to see books of this age written from the vantage point of the female gaze.

Not a keeper or anything to write home about otherwise, though.

Also, what's up with her Kindergarten-aged brother being like a super genius?? He was giving Charles Wallace vibes. It didn't feel normal that a high school girl would go to a five-year-old for advice.

2 out of 5 stars

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