Thorn uses her psychic abilities to find the murderer of a baby girl, in the process joining a singing competition and falling in love with a high school vigilante who calls himself the Grin Reaper. Thorn is a teenage goth girl who has just moved to a small town school in Nevada because her mother has gotten a job as a minister. Thorn has many secrets in her life. Firstly, her real name isn't thorn. Secondly, she dreams of being a professional musician. And thirdly, she's a Finder or a person who has psychic powers that can attract or find lost objects. One day as she and her friend Rune are hanging out at the school theater, Thorn's powers kick in and she finds herself clutching a necklace. She hides the necklace in her pocket before Rune sees because she hasn't yet told her friend about her weird abilities. One of their other friends, Amerie, shows up soon after to announce that a famous rock star named Philippe is coming to their school to judge a singing competition. Apparently Philippe was a student from their school. Thorn tries to get rid of the necklace but is unable to because the necklace doesn't want to be let go. Thorn feels an overwhelming feeling of sadness lingering around the necklace and she is sure there was some tragedy associated with it.
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Later that day, Thorn is guided by the necklace to find the old abandoned school gym. When she goes inside, she sees a guy locked up in some sort of cage, shouting for help. Before she can help him, a masked guy chases her out of the gym. She notices the back of his mask has a huge yellow smiley face on it. Thorn puts up a fight, insisting that she's going to report him but he ends up taking her backpack and threatening not to give it back unless she leaves the premises. She ends up chasing the guy and retrieving her backpack from a dumpster while the guy runs off. When Thorn tells Rune about her experience, she learns that the masked guy is a legendary figure at their school called the Grin Reaper who goes after people who deserve to be punished. The rumor mill explains that the guy in the cage was punished for prank-ing a freshman from the Special Ed class. Thorn isn't so impressed by the Grin Reaper since he gave her a hard time and she vows that if she ever finds out who he is she will reveal his identity as revenge.
At home, Thorn finds there is a letter for her parents listing out how Thorn's goth look and her rebellious behavior is a tarnish on her mother's reputation as a minister. Later that day, she notices there are initials written on the back of the necklace's heart-shaped pendant. She finds out the pendant is actually a locket and it contains a curl of black hair. Thorn has a feeling that the hair comes from a dead body.
The next day, Thorn is sent to detention for skipping class. She suspects one of the guys in detention might be the Grin Reaper. On her way to sharpening a pencil, she receives a sudden vision and without thinking, she marks a spot on a map on a place called Stallion Creek. When she goes to visit the site she marked on the map, she discovers a blue baby blanket and human bones. Unfortunately a sheriff appears on the scene soon after and she is forced to make up some story about how she randomly came to find the bones. When her dad finds out, he is furious that she skipped school again and got into more trouble that would smear her mom's reputation. Later, she realizes that since she found the locket in the school theater that it must belong to someone who is registered to enter the singing contest.
In order to discover the owner of the locket Thorn decides to register for the singing contest. The next day, as she's waiting around for school to start, she encounters one of the boys from detention again. She recognizes his voice as that of the Grin Reaper. Before she can confront him about his identity, he and his group of Preppy boys disappear into the crowd. Thorn finds out she is too late to register as a solo singer for the singing competition so she has to join her friend Amerie who is a part of a group of singers called the Cotton Candy Cowgirls. Later that day when all the singers are supposed to be rehearsing, Thorn goes in search of Amerie and finds her making out with Philipe. She also notices the Grin Reaper sneaking onto Philipe's fancy bus. She's worried that the Grin Reaper has planted a bomb or something on the bus so she chases him to confront him. She finally manages to pull off his mask to find that the Grin Reaper is none other than Jay Blackenship who is the son of one of the most powerful and wealthy Judge in town. Jay tells her that he knows she was found the baby bones and if she reveals his identity he will tell everyone what he knows. She has no choice but to agree to keep his identity a secret.
During rehearsal, Thorn asks the Cotton Candy Cowgirls to help her identity the owner of the locket. One of the girls, named Skarla, gives her photos she took of all the singing contestants. After searching all the photos for signs of a girl who might have been pregnant, Thorn feels like giving up. A moment later, she receives a mysterious phone call from a garbled voice telling Thorn that she wants her necklace. Thorn agrees to meet with this girl at the arcade of a local mall to give it back. While at the arcade, someone causes a fight to ensue and during the chaos, someone takes Thorn's locket. Thorn suspects it was the mysterious caller.
After thinking more about the photo Thorn realizes that there's still one person she hasn't investigated and that is the photographer herself – Skarla. At one of the rehearsals, Thorn sneaks into Skarla's bedroom and snoops around. She is shocked to discover a pile of neatly folded baby clothes in one of the drawers.
One night, Jay appears in Thorn's window. Thorn is angry as she suspects he's responsible for vandalizing her adopted brother's car recently. He insists he isn't responsible but he knows who did it and invites her to join him to get justice. During the whole escapade, Thorn learns more about Jay. He tells her that he became a vigilante because he was disgusted that his own father was so corrupted and let justice slide in favor of power and wealth. Thorn finds herself grudgingly liking Jay.
On the day of the singing competition, Thorn reluctantly takes off all her piercings and dresses like a Cotton Candy Cowgirl. Before they perform, Thorn confronts Philipe about his past girlfriends because she is worried that Amerie will end up getting hurt. Apparently Philipe has a history of dating girls and dumping them after he moves on. Philipe finds an excuse to avoid answering her questions and Amerie is mad that Thorn is trying to spoil her relationship. The Cotton Candy Cowgirls end up winning a spot on the finals which will be televised.
The next evening, Thorn is invited to Skarla's house with the other Cotton Candy Cowgirls to celebrate their success. Thorn takes this opportunity to sneak around Skarla's bedroom but this time she is caught. Skarla is angry and disappointed that Thorn suspects her of being the “baby-killer”. She explains that the baby clothes were keepsakes from her father, who had bought them for her when she was a baby before he died. Skarla demands that Thorn leave her house for disrespecting her and she also kicks Thorn out of the group. Thorn is humiliated but at the same time oddly relieved that she doesn't have to perform in the finals. During the competition, Thorn notices Jay sneaking off backstage and she suspects he has some plot to exact some sort of justice from Philipe again. Thorn insists on following him to Philipe's old house. There, she finds out that Jay was just trying to retrieve some property that Philipe didn't bother returning to one of his friends. They end up getting caught by Collette, Philipe's manager, who holds them at gun point until the authorities arrive. While they wait, Thorn notices the pendant on top of Collette's dresser.
Collette explains that the pendant belonged to one of Philipe's groupies, who became pregnant. The groupie ended up having a miscarriage and Collette had to dispose of the baby for fear that the paparazzi would get wind of the story and it would mar Philipe's reputation. Philipe ends up overhearing the truth and he is angry with his manager but in the end he understands why she did it. The sheriff arrives on the scene and Collette has to explain the situation. The entire thing becomes a scandal that makes Philipe even more famous.
The story ends with Thorn deciding she won't tell anyone who the Grin Reaper is, after all, since she might actually begin to like him and what he does.
Best part of story, including ending:
The story was very entertaining, humorous and amusing to read due to witty characters and a wacky plot. I specifically liked that the author wrote from the point of view of a goth girl living in a small town community. I can only imagine how difficult it is to express individuality when surrounded by small-minded people who disapprove of anything too different. There were many funny and ironic moments in the story where Thorn clashes with some of the more deep south conservative folk.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Thorn finally catches the Grin Reaper and pulls off his mask only to find out the Grin Reaper is Jay Blackenstone, the most preppy and conservative-looking guy at her school. It was funny reading Thorn's thought process as she struggles between disappointment (because she was expecting it would be one of the more bad boy characters at school) and intrigue as to what could have motivated Jay to be so rebellious.
Opinion about the main character:
I like Thorn's prickly, stubborn and witty voice. I think for the most part, she doesn't want to cause any trouble for her mother and family - she just wants the right to express herself however she wants without irrational judgment and prejudice from her small town community.