is a three book young adult thriller series by Caroline B. Cooney (The Face On The Milk Carton
) about a girl from an island who leaves her home to study on the mainland. She and her older friend, Anya, stay at a boarding house with the Shevvingtons. Mr. Shevvington is the principal of Christina's new school and Mrs. Shevvington is the English teacher. They seem like model citizens until they start to psychologically torture Christina and manipulate the people she loves into believing she is ungrateful and even insane. When Anya starts to lose her mind, Christina must engage in psychological warfare against the Shevvingtons to save her own mind and Anya's.
This series provides examples of
- Adults Are Useless: Though Christina never lied to her parents while she lived with them, they do not believe her word against Mrs. Shevvington's.
- Subverted with Mr. Gardner though when he tries to talk to Christina about it she naturally runs away from him.
- All Abusers Are Male: Averted. Mrs. Shevvington is arguably MORE evil and insidious than Mr. Shevvington.
- Adult Fear: Besides the Shevvington's vindictive psychological games, Christina puts her self in some pretty dangerous situations:
- Book One: Needing to save Anya from drowning her self, she climbs along the roof of the Inn during near hurricane conditions.
- Book Two: Christina is nearly crushed to death by retracting bleachers. Then she and Dolly have to escape rising tide on the cliffs.
- Book Three: Christina is caught in the burning down manor with Val.
- Balcony Escape: Twice. Book One Christina needs it to get out the Manor to rescue Anya. In Book three she and Val have to use the balcony to escape the fire.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Christina and Anya's beauty gets described almost Sueishly in parts. Mrs. Shevvington's oatmeal face can never be mentioned enough.
- Although Christina doesn't think of herself as beautiful, interpreting compliments she gets on her looks to refer to her looks representing the island she's from; not necessarily beautiful, but interesting. She does love her "silver, gold, and sable" tri-colored hair though.
- Break the Cutie: Christina, Anya, Val, Dolly, and countless others chipped away by the Shevvingtons.
- Blatant Lies: The Shevvingtons lie just about everything regarding their targets.
- Boarding School of Horrors: Or boarding house in this case, the school is fairly ordinary.
- Broken Bird: Val in the third book.
- Cassandra Truth: Christina suffers the most when it comes to this as time after time she's ignored.
- Creepy Basement
- Cute Bruiser: Christina is very quick with her fists. She punches a classmate named Jonah on the first day of school.
- Food Fight: Book 2
- Funny Foreigner: Christina is from Burning Fog Island, and girls on the mainland laugh at her island dialect expressions like "goffle" (to mean "gobble") and "yarn" (to mean "exaggerate").
- Gaslighting: Naturally.
- Girl Posse: Vicki and Gretchen.
- Heroic BSOD: Christina suffers one at during book three. It's Val that manages to get her back.
- High School Dance: Christina gets invited to one by Benji in book three. Makes for a sweet finale.
- Ironic Nursery Rhyme: Liar, liar, house on fire!
- Kill It with Fire: The Shevvingtons end up trapped inside their own burning house and their remains are dumped out in front of the beach party guests.
- Madness Mantra: Anya continually says, "the sea needs...me."
- Meaningful Echo:
Anya: I won't let you down, Mr. Shevvington, I'll do everything you say.
Mr. Shevvington: I know.
Dolly: I won't let you down, Mr. Shevvington, I'll do everything you say.
Mr. Shevvington: I know.
- Mind Manipulation
- Most Writers Are Adults / Wise Beyond Their Years: Christina wins psychological warfare against two abusive adults when she is thirteen.
- Ominous Fog
- Psychological Horror: The entire story.
- Put on a Bus: Miss Schuyler, who agrees with Christina that the Shevvington's aren't as great as everyone says.
- Sadist Teacher: Both of the Shevvingtons are this.