Troubled teen Beckett believes she is the “final girl,” the girl in the horror movie who knows what is going to happen before anyone else, who must suffer as her friends die one by one, leaving her to make the last stand against the killer. This is her nightmare, and she welcomes us to peer in and watch till the credits roll.
In Jane Mendelsohn’s recently released paperback, Innocence, the killer Beckett must toil with isn’t so much the vampire chasing her throughout the book, but the changing hands of fate that are slaughtering her childhood and forcing her into adulthood. As she copes with this terrifying transition, she realizes that the people and recent events surrounding her are not what they seem.
As she and her father move back to New York City after the death of her mother, she starts a new school, struggling to find her niche among the “mermaids,” the beautiful girls at school. While experiencing the turmoil of her first love and her father’s new girlfriend, bloody acts ensue: her first period and the suicides of several girls at her school. As we run frantically along with Beckett, every page opens up something more dark and terrifying, while we try to decipher where reality lies and where Beckett’s possible delusions of a vampire out for her blood end.
Mendelsohn has created a dark, gothic tale, part Heathers, part Virgin Suicides and part Mendelsohn’s own views on the new generation of teenagers, struggling to exist in a terrifying, self-obsessed world. Whether you interpret the bloody images as truth or consider them as the metaphor for a dying childhood, this is a riveting tale. Beckett knows she can never go back to the innocence she once held so preciously, and must come to realize that the real battle is to become the woman she must be, without becoming an adult like those she loathes.
Carrie DiPirro is a Metro Times editorial intern. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.