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Parker Pace
Storybook, Inc.
Parker Pace, author
Storybook, Inc. is a mystery/suspense novel, with a romantic subplot. It is written for a YA audience and tells the story of Mica Psmith, a senior in high school, whose parents enroll her in "the program" -- a secretive boarding school for at-risk youth -- after her expulsion from high school. Mica's enrollment in the program sets into motion a bizarre series of events that finds Mica on the run for her life, and wondering if the program is little more than a theatrical con game or worse.
After being expelled from her high school, 17-year-old senior Mica Psmith is directed to a specifically designed boarding school, Storybook, Inc., which offers a program to help students in extraordinary situations. In Mica’s case, she’s lived with worsening depression since her beloved inventor father’s suicide three years earlier. Mica’s journey from her home in Seattle to the school in San Diego is quickly disrupted by a strange phone call from her mother and then a violent train robbery. She and Roman, the older boy who’d been sitting next to her on the train, escape and try to find safety, complicated by mysterious occurrences and run-ins with sinister figures. Is Mica losing her grip on sanity, or are dangerous people after her?

Pace has penned a complex, fast-paced psychological thriller with romantic tension sprinkled throughout. Mica is a fully developed protagonist and Roman an intriguing romantic interest, with just enough of a dark past and secretive nature to keep readers guessing about his true motives. Some awkward language (“shocked… his mouth puckers like it’s full of marbles”; “my body collapses into butter over Julia’s chest”) may pull readers out of the story momentarily, but they’ll soon be drawn back in by the high stakes, multiplying mysteries, and striking images.

While true mystery aficionados may see the ending coming, there is still enough suspense and worldbuilding to hold their attention before all is revealed in the climatic ending. This intricate, action-packed story—which adroitly spans multiple genres, including YA, thriller, and romance—will keep readers turning the pages.

Takeaway: Fans of psychological and YA thrillers will enjoy the fast-paced action and suspense Pace serves up.

Great for fans of: Veronica Roth, Dean Koontz, Karen M. McManus.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A