Kit Frick weaves a YA mystery in Mexico with The Reunion | Pittsburgh City Paper

Kit Frick weaves a YA mystery in Mexico with The Reunion

click to enlarge Kit Frick weaves a YA mystery in Mexico with The Reunion
Photo: Courtesy of Carly Gaebe Steadfast Studio/Simon & Schuster
Kit Frick
The latest novel by Pittsburgh-based author Kit Frick is, ostensibly, a young adult title. However, The Reunion, which follows four teenagers who travel to a Mexican resort to celebrate an impending family marriage, is more than a coming-of-age tale; it’s also a keenly plotted mystery that could easily appeal to adult readers.

“I think especially in the mystery-thriller genre, there’s a lot of crossover in readership between teens and adults,” Frick, a Mt. Lebanon resident, tells Pittsburgh City Paper. “I often tell people that if you enjoy a good mystery story, there’s a good chance that my books will appeal to you whether you are 16 or 26 or 66.”

The Reunion releases today, and Frick will appear with moderator Amanda Quain to discuss her latest work during a launch event at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill. 

Frick's appeal to multiple age groups is understandable given that she’s also penned an adult novel, The Split, in addition to five YA titles, including The Reunion. Aside from the various concerns a teen character might have versus an adult, Frick says the adjustments she has to make in her writing are few.

She says that, in writing for teens, one notable exception happens when a character is "thinking or acting in a way that is intended for teenagers to find objectionable."

“For instance, using gender or mental health as a weapon, I’m not going to let that action go unchecked. Another character will call them out, or there’ll be a consequence," she adds. "These are not what you’d call issue books. I write entertaining mysteries and thrillers. But I am very cognizant of my target audience, teens, and I’m not going to let a character punch down on another character’s sexuality, for instance.”

Frick introduces her plot on the first page, as a bulletin is issued to guests of the fictional Maravilla Hotel Resort about a missing teenager. From there, she introduces us to twins Mason and Addison Acker-Mayweather, whose mother is marrying the father of Theo Hunt. There’s also Natalia, cousin to Mason and Addison, and her younger sister Mia. They feint and jab at each other throughout the story, their various preoccupations and concerns leading up to one of them disappearing during an engagement party.

One element Frick tries to incorporate in her characters is their tendency to speak directly, whether it’s asking a question about an adult’s sexuality or inquiring about a relationship status. “I think it was very much on my mind that kids, as a rule, are more prone to have these more open, more unfiltered conversations,” Frick says. “I think that’s great.”

But what isn’t exactly great is the influence of social media on the teens of The Reunion. Their phones are just as much a part of their lives as their parents – if not more so – and social media plays a crucial role in one incident.

“I think [social media] is a huge challenge for kids and teens now,” Frick says. “Obviously, there are some benefits to social media. But from talking to kids and teens about it, many have very complicated relationships with social media. I have explored that in several of my books.”
Book Launch: Kit Frick's The Reunion. 7 p.m. Thu., Aug. 31. Riverstone Books. 5841 Forbe Ave., Squirrel Hill. Free.

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