What worked: This is a suspenseful thriller set in a small town where there might be some truth to a local urban legend. Clara's family moves a lot due to her father's job. Pender is slowly shutting down after the major paper plant has closed. The setting shows a weary town in grays and depressed tones. Clara becomes friends with Bree and Sage, who introduce her to their friends that go into the nearby woods and tell stories of the Mumbler. Each tale is more grisly than the last.
Clara is that new kid at school that isn't sure of herself and were she fits. She's happy to be accepted and is at first intrigued by the stories. The weariness of the adults around her is shown by the teachers who don't seem to care and the principal who is sick of pranks. I did like how French gives warmth to Clara's parents. They're not the stereotypical hardcore parents. They do care about her.
The whole friend tuning you out if you date a guy she liked is very realistic. Bree really likes Kincaid, but when he tells Clara he likes her? Bree is upset and shuts Clara out.
The relationship between Kincaid and Clara felt rushed and not fleshed out. Readers get glimpses of his family life when Clara follows him home. He's warm and cold with Clara, which only adds to her confusion on how she stands with him.
The final reveal on the Mumbler did surprise me. There were some twists and turns on who the serial killer might be. It seems most of the town, including the kids in the 'crew', could be possible suspects. I like when the final reveal isn't easy to solve.
The atmospheric element gives this story a creepy feel too.
Intriguing thriller set in a town where an urban legend might be more than just a Halloween story to scare kids.