Harley Quinn: Redemption

When girls in Gotham City go missing, Harley Quinn is determined to track down their kidnapper. But the only way to outsmart a villain is to engage in a little villainy herself. Don't miss the adrenaline-racing conclusion to the Harley Quinn trilogy.

In Gotham City even the heroes are wicked.

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy can't wait to cross off the final items on their summer bucket list. They still need to:
  • Go to Pride
  • Get mani/pedis
  • Figure out how they can kiss without Ivy's toxic lips killing Harley. (Every relationship has its challenges!)

But their to-do list gets more dangerous when young girls vanish from the streets of Gotham City. The only clues left behind are the dolls on Harley's doorstep from a mysterious sender known as the Dollmaker. The message is clear: come find me…if you dare.

Award-winning author Rachael Allen delivers the fast-paced and fiercely feminist conclusion to the Harley Quinn trilogy.

“Allen’s Harley is a fierce, righteous, brilliant, and preternaturally brace ball of chaos. I loved and feared every single minute with her.” –Dahlia Adler, author of Cool for the Summer
Rachael Allen is a scientist by day and kid lit author by night. She is the winner of the 2019 Georgia Young Adult Author of the Year award, and her books include 17 First Kisses, The Revenge Playbook, The Summer of Impossibilities, and A Taxonomy of Love, which was a Junior Library Guild and 2018 Books All Young Georgians Should Read selection. Rachael lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her two children and two sled dogs. Find her online at rachaelallenwrites.blogspot.com. View titles by Rachael Allen
Chapter 1


Science experiments that involve kissing should be a lot more fun. Ivy, my girlfriend, my G-I-R-L-F-R-I-E-N-D of exactly twenty-nine days and four hours, purses her lips and leans forward. Her hair glistens in the sunlight, and she smells like summer and overripe peaches. Her lips look soft and so very kissable.

And . . . I pull out a box of cotton swabs. (No. Fun. At all.)

“Think about me!” I tell her.

The puckering takes on a smiley shape. I run a swab across her lips and then carefully open her mouth so I can make small circles on the insides of her cheeks as I count to five.

“Perfect!” I remove the swab and stuff it in a tube filled with clear media. “Now think about Woodrue!”

I take another kiss sample with a fresh swab.

“Now think about kissing Catwoman!”

“Wait, what?”

“Kidding! Think about me again.”

Another swab.

I vortex all the vials to homogenize the samples, and then I spin them down so I can run the toxicity assay. Please work. Please work. Please work this time. It’s important to distract myself, because if I don’t, I’ll start thinking about the letters. And what comes with the letters. So I keep my eyes on the centrifuge as it works its way up to 10,000 g. While I’m doing my science, Ivy repots some begonias that she rescued (read: stole) from the nearby home improvement store because “the poor babies had root rot and they needed someone to take care of them.” Her conservatory--the place where we’re working--is unreal. Like a jungle ate a science lab and then settled down in a Victorian solarium. The walls are so thick with greenery, you can hardly see them, and the ceiling is retractable glass.

Also? There are lab benches with science equipment and a sitting area for relaxing and shelves filled so tall with books that you have to use a vine-covered ladder to reach them. (I honestly still haven’t been able to decide if the ladder is alive--the last time I was stretching out my fingers to grab a book just beyond reach, it SHOT OUT A VINE to help me.)

And then there are the flowers as big as people and the vines hung thick with mysterious fruit and the ones that smell like death or cinnamon or banana pudding. This place feels like a mythical parallel world--something hidden and primordial. Our own personal oasis on the outskirts of Gotham City. A break from the horrors that find their way to my campus mailbox. I have been here two days, and I never want to leave.

“Have your professors posted grades yet?” Ivy asks as she makes cuttings of her Monstera deliciosa. (It has a ton of white patches and streaks within its tropical green leaves, which apparently makes it some kind of celebrity in the plant community.)

I shake my head and do another rinse step for my assay. “No.” I say it like I’m personally offended, because I am. “And refreshing every ten minutes doesn’t make the grades appear.”

Ivy smirks. “Cruel and unusual.”

It really is. I’ve been working like a fiend to make all A’s so I can get into a top-tier med school, even while the darkness at the back of my mind whispers that I could do more good by putting on my Harley costume and taking to the streets.

“What are you thinking about?” asks Ivy.

I blush. “Nothing.”

It’s not that I think she’d judge me, but it’s one thing to do some fun and nefarious secret missions on the side, and it’s entirely another to say you’re considering them as a whole life plan/alternate career. Especially when all you have is some amorphous picture in your head of tearing through Gotham City by night with glitterbombs and truth bombs and actual bombs, and not, like, a specific plan of how this entire set-up would work or what the point would be. It’s better to tell her when I have a solid plan. Yep. I’m sure an epiphany about my life goals will strike any day now.

Just then, the Isleys’ housekeeper bustles in with a monogrammed cheese board straight out of a magazine. Baked brie. Fig jam. Fruit I don’t even know the names of.

“Thanks, Dorothy,” says Ivy kindly.

I choke out a “thank you” too. I wish I could feel more comfortable around this woman, who is almost like a mother to Ivy. But I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to people waiting on me.

The minute I leave the conservatory and set foot on the rest of the Isley estate (because it’s definitely not just a house, this place), I’m reminded of exactly how different Ivy and I are. When she found out I didn’t have a place to stay during that awkward week between spring and summer semester when they don’t let students live in the dorms, she didn’t hesitate--I just had to stay with her at Hawthorne.

Do I have to call it Hawthorne?

She rolled her eyes. “Only in front of my parents. I used to try to think up awful nicknames just to piss them off,” she continued, and I grinned. “But they’re going to be away at their Tuscan villa all summer, a fact that my mother has worked into conversation ad nauseam with everyone from the neighbors to our dentist, which means we’ll get the house to ourselves.”

Ivy looked positively gleeful. At the thought of them leaving? At the thought of me coming to stay? Probably both.

And because I adore her, I only teased her a little about how I didn’t realize “to ourselves” meant us plus a staff of seven.

Ivy sprinkles the cheese board with edible flowers, and I abruptly stop spacing out because (A) Ivy, and (B) cheese.

I walk over to the sitting area to pop a bite of baked brie into my mouth and eat a couple of round berries the color of an egg yolk.

“So, you think it’ll work this time?” asks Ivy.

“The cheese? It’s definitely working.”

I give my belly a comical rub, but she doesn’t laugh.

“The experiment.” Ivy tucks her legs underneath her and picks at some pomegranate arils.

“Are you kidding?! It’s totally gonna work!” I hype myself up so I can hype her up. Don’t let the doubts slither into my brain. The whispers that tell me we’ve been trying for months and we thought we’d have it figured out in weeks. The shadows that hiss that it may be impossible, and what are we going to do then? Oops, guess the doubts slithered in after all.

I leap up from the table. “HEY, WHAT’S THIS?”

Ivy glances at me. “Huh?”

“These flowers.” I point at the furry pink cotton balls that strongly resemble the trees in a children’s book my mom used to read to me. “I’m, like, fascinated by them. What are they?”

“I know what you’re doing.” The left side of Ivy’s mouth curves upward.

“What? Showing an interest in your hobbies? Being curious about nature’s wonders?”

“Distracting me.”

“Is it working?”

She can’t help but crack a grin. “Yes.”

“So . . . what are they?”

“Mimosa trees.” She walks over and plucks one of the fluffy pink flowers. She holds it out to me. “Smell it.”

I breathe in, and then I sigh out because these flowers, wow. “They’re amazing. Like honey and almonds and a summer breeze, and something spicy I can’t quite put my finger on.”

“Ginger,” says Ivy, looking incredibly pleased with my assessment.

“Yeah, that.” I sigh again because I still feel a little daydreamy after inhaling the flower.

“When I was little, I used to call them powderpuff trees, and I’d pick the flowers and pretend to do my makeup with them.” She brushes the flower along my cheekbones like a blush brush, and I shiver.

“I bet you were the cutest kid ever.”

Her smile falters, but just for a second. She doesn’t like to talk about her childhood.

“You can make a tincture with the flowers that alleviates depression. Well, that’s the folklore anyway, but I think there might be some scientific merit it.” (Classic Ivy recovery.)

I move along to another raised flower bed, and Ivy pushes the flower into the soil of the bed with her hand, then swoops her fingers around it gracefully like a ballerina until it grows into a tiny mimosa tree.

“I will never get over you doing that. It’s like magic.”

Ivy narrows her eyes. “Science.”

“But in some ways, aren’t they the same thing?” I skip along to some shiny-looking blueberries before she can get too ruffled. “Oh! How ’bout these?! Let me guess! They turn you into a blueberry. Nope, too obvious. Temporary telepathy? I’ve always wanted to know what Officer Montoya thinks about when she’s not interrogating people.” If I could really have that, the ability to break into people’s minds, I could find the location of the man stalking me in the time it takes to snap my fingers. I open my mouth wide, ready to eat a berry right off the branch.

A giant elephant’s ear leaf leans over, forming a bright green barrier against my face. “Um, those are belladonna, and they can kill you,” says Ivy.

“Oops.” And then I eye the plant skeptically. “Just one of those little berries?”

“I mean, maybe if you’re lucky, it’ll just be delirium or hallucinations, but yes, deadly nightshade. Poison of the ages. Used to make witches fly and women’s eyes dilate.”

“Wut.”

“It was a whole thing to look prettier in medieval times. Zero out of ten. Would not recommend.”

“Oh-ho-kay. No belladonna for me.”

But what if it wasn’t just poison? What if it was poison and powers? Would the juice be worth the squeeze?

My timer buzzes from across the room.

“Oh! My experiment!”

I run over and eyeball the toxicity levels and then export the results so I can analyze them. Ivy buzzes around me while trying to pretend she’s not hovering.

“Huh. It’s still showing high levels of toxins when you think about me. Or when you think about anything at all, really. Not as high as when you think about Woodrue, though, so that’s something!”

Ivy takes a step back and sits on the table. “Yeah. For sure.” But her voice is hollow, and I know no amount of excited plant questions are going to fix this.

I sit next to her and press my shoulder against hers.

“It’s okay. We’ll keep trying.”

She nods.

I have another idea I’m working on--one where I try to isolate exactly what it is in Ivy’s saliva/body/whatever that’s keeping her from dying from her own toxin, but I’ve had absolutely zero luck finding it so far, so I don’t mention it. It’s been hard to keep our hopes up lately.

It’s not just our kissing problem. We’ve hardly made any progress on trying to find the missing girls or the trafficking gang either. I remember how powerful I felt last semester watching The Scarecrow get arrested during grand rounds. Realizing that I hadn’t been pushed into those chemicals--I’d jumped so that the very last of the mind-control chips would be destroyed. And even though I knew it wasn’t over, that The Scarecrow had intended to supply those chips to a bigger operation that had been kidnapping girls all over the city, I wasn’t worried then. I told Ivy we’d cure ourselves and find the missing girls in a single spring-break road trip. And now it’s summer, and we’re still right where we started. No progress. And that’s with the mastermind behind the missing girls sending me serial-killer letters in the mail for the last two months.

Sometimes the letters aren’t all he sends. Sometimes there are “gifts.” Packages tied up with twine. Dolls nestled in tissue paper. Horrific, ugly little things with bat wings sewn into their backs and tentacles coming out of their faces.

And the letters that come with them . . .


I discovered the most intriguing girl in a back alley yesterday. Her face is plain, and I think she may be addicted to a couple of vices, but I already have ideas for how to transform her. What do you think? Beautiful, no?


Because it turns out the dolls he sends me aren’t just dolls. They’re plans. Blueprints. This isn’t your usual human-trafficking operation. He’s taking the girls because he wants to make them “transcendent.” Turn them into what his sadistic brain thinks of as art. I shudder just thinking about it.

Every time he takes a girl, I get a letter and a doll. Every time. He used to keep them on a shelf in his (no doubt dreadful) lair, but now he sends them to me because apparently I’m just that special. And every time I get one, I feel that much more like a failure. Another girl mangled. One more I’ve failed to save. It got to where my hands shook every time I checked my Gotham U mailbox.

Another benefit of staying at Ivy’s? The Dollmaker doesn’t know where I am. I’ll get a break from his ghastly presents, if only for a week.

When I got that first letter, and the first doll that went with it, I was disgusted. Panic-stricken. But it gave me something to follow up on. The man behind the trafficking gang, one of the two men who were collaborating with The Scarecrow, had revealed himself to me. Named himself, even--The Dollmaker. And I already knew one of his other aliases, Anton, from his emails to The Scarecrow. He wasn’t being nearly as careful as he should have been.

Why is it so hard to find him, though? I’ve been to every dive bar and hole-in-the-wall in the East End, seeing if I can get some drunk person to spill that they maybe thought they saw something a few days ago. I’ve pumped my underworld connections for any information they might have on a guy named Anton or someone who goes by “The Dollmaker.” I’ve asked all the girls in my old neighborhood if they’ve noticed anyone more suspicious than usual lurking around. But other than the confirmation that, yes, girls are disappearing more rapidly than normal, and a couple people claiming to have seen the same idling black car, I’ve got nothing. I think back to my gap year, when I was part of the Reckoning. How much the five of us accomplished in such a short amount of time. Sometimes I wonder if the reason Ivy and I are having trouble making progress is because it’s just the two of us.

I never ended up hearing back from Jasmin and Bianca last semester, even though I sent them a bunch of texts. Jasmin’s still a grad student at Gotham U for another year, so I guess I could find her on campus taking summer classes. I want to find out how Bianca’s back surgery went too. It was months ago that she broke her back trying to follow a trafficking gang on a mission that I couldn’t risk helping with. Months ago that they flew her to Santa Prisca for experimental surgery.
Perfect for hard-core fans and new readers looking to fall in love with this smart, rebellious, iconic character.” –Julian Winters, Award-winning author of As You Walk On By

"Maniacally plotted and diabolically feminist, Harley Quinn: Reckoning shreds misogyny with science and features a girl gang that readers won’t be able to get enough of. Every girl who’s ever been pushed aside, overlooked, or held back will root for Harleen and be clamoring for more."—Lisa Maxwell, author of the New York Times Bestselling The Last Magician series

Harley Quinn: Reckoning is a powerhouse of a villain origin story that sizzles with tension and terror, humor and heart. Allen deftly weaves weighty themes, such as sexism, classism, the way our experiences shape who we become and the way we shatter expectations, into a gripping and witty whodunit. This version of Harley Quinn is my new fave supervillain-in-the-making and I can't wait to read more!”—Gilly Segal, New York Times bestselling author of I'm Not Dying With You Tonight

About

When girls in Gotham City go missing, Harley Quinn is determined to track down their kidnapper. But the only way to outsmart a villain is to engage in a little villainy herself. Don't miss the adrenaline-racing conclusion to the Harley Quinn trilogy.

In Gotham City even the heroes are wicked.

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy can't wait to cross off the final items on their summer bucket list. They still need to:
  • Go to Pride
  • Get mani/pedis
  • Figure out how they can kiss without Ivy's toxic lips killing Harley. (Every relationship has its challenges!)

But their to-do list gets more dangerous when young girls vanish from the streets of Gotham City. The only clues left behind are the dolls on Harley's doorstep from a mysterious sender known as the Dollmaker. The message is clear: come find me…if you dare.

Award-winning author Rachael Allen delivers the fast-paced and fiercely feminist conclusion to the Harley Quinn trilogy.

“Allen’s Harley is a fierce, righteous, brilliant, and preternaturally brace ball of chaos. I loved and feared every single minute with her.” –Dahlia Adler, author of Cool for the Summer

Author

Rachael Allen is a scientist by day and kid lit author by night. She is the winner of the 2019 Georgia Young Adult Author of the Year award, and her books include 17 First Kisses, The Revenge Playbook, The Summer of Impossibilities, and A Taxonomy of Love, which was a Junior Library Guild and 2018 Books All Young Georgians Should Read selection. Rachael lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her two children and two sled dogs. Find her online at rachaelallenwrites.blogspot.com. View titles by Rachael Allen

Excerpt

Chapter 1


Science experiments that involve kissing should be a lot more fun. Ivy, my girlfriend, my G-I-R-L-F-R-I-E-N-D of exactly twenty-nine days and four hours, purses her lips and leans forward. Her hair glistens in the sunlight, and she smells like summer and overripe peaches. Her lips look soft and so very kissable.

And . . . I pull out a box of cotton swabs. (No. Fun. At all.)

“Think about me!” I tell her.

The puckering takes on a smiley shape. I run a swab across her lips and then carefully open her mouth so I can make small circles on the insides of her cheeks as I count to five.

“Perfect!” I remove the swab and stuff it in a tube filled with clear media. “Now think about Woodrue!”

I take another kiss sample with a fresh swab.

“Now think about kissing Catwoman!”

“Wait, what?”

“Kidding! Think about me again.”

Another swab.

I vortex all the vials to homogenize the samples, and then I spin them down so I can run the toxicity assay. Please work. Please work. Please work this time. It’s important to distract myself, because if I don’t, I’ll start thinking about the letters. And what comes with the letters. So I keep my eyes on the centrifuge as it works its way up to 10,000 g. While I’m doing my science, Ivy repots some begonias that she rescued (read: stole) from the nearby home improvement store because “the poor babies had root rot and they needed someone to take care of them.” Her conservatory--the place where we’re working--is unreal. Like a jungle ate a science lab and then settled down in a Victorian solarium. The walls are so thick with greenery, you can hardly see them, and the ceiling is retractable glass.

Also? There are lab benches with science equipment and a sitting area for relaxing and shelves filled so tall with books that you have to use a vine-covered ladder to reach them. (I honestly still haven’t been able to decide if the ladder is alive--the last time I was stretching out my fingers to grab a book just beyond reach, it SHOT OUT A VINE to help me.)

And then there are the flowers as big as people and the vines hung thick with mysterious fruit and the ones that smell like death or cinnamon or banana pudding. This place feels like a mythical parallel world--something hidden and primordial. Our own personal oasis on the outskirts of Gotham City. A break from the horrors that find their way to my campus mailbox. I have been here two days, and I never want to leave.

“Have your professors posted grades yet?” Ivy asks as she makes cuttings of her Monstera deliciosa. (It has a ton of white patches and streaks within its tropical green leaves, which apparently makes it some kind of celebrity in the plant community.)

I shake my head and do another rinse step for my assay. “No.” I say it like I’m personally offended, because I am. “And refreshing every ten minutes doesn’t make the grades appear.”

Ivy smirks. “Cruel and unusual.”

It really is. I’ve been working like a fiend to make all A’s so I can get into a top-tier med school, even while the darkness at the back of my mind whispers that I could do more good by putting on my Harley costume and taking to the streets.

“What are you thinking about?” asks Ivy.

I blush. “Nothing.”

It’s not that I think she’d judge me, but it’s one thing to do some fun and nefarious secret missions on the side, and it’s entirely another to say you’re considering them as a whole life plan/alternate career. Especially when all you have is some amorphous picture in your head of tearing through Gotham City by night with glitterbombs and truth bombs and actual bombs, and not, like, a specific plan of how this entire set-up would work or what the point would be. It’s better to tell her when I have a solid plan. Yep. I’m sure an epiphany about my life goals will strike any day now.

Just then, the Isleys’ housekeeper bustles in with a monogrammed cheese board straight out of a magazine. Baked brie. Fig jam. Fruit I don’t even know the names of.

“Thanks, Dorothy,” says Ivy kindly.

I choke out a “thank you” too. I wish I could feel more comfortable around this woman, who is almost like a mother to Ivy. But I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to people waiting on me.

The minute I leave the conservatory and set foot on the rest of the Isley estate (because it’s definitely not just a house, this place), I’m reminded of exactly how different Ivy and I are. When she found out I didn’t have a place to stay during that awkward week between spring and summer semester when they don’t let students live in the dorms, she didn’t hesitate--I just had to stay with her at Hawthorne.

Do I have to call it Hawthorne?

She rolled her eyes. “Only in front of my parents. I used to try to think up awful nicknames just to piss them off,” she continued, and I grinned. “But they’re going to be away at their Tuscan villa all summer, a fact that my mother has worked into conversation ad nauseam with everyone from the neighbors to our dentist, which means we’ll get the house to ourselves.”

Ivy looked positively gleeful. At the thought of them leaving? At the thought of me coming to stay? Probably both.

And because I adore her, I only teased her a little about how I didn’t realize “to ourselves” meant us plus a staff of seven.

Ivy sprinkles the cheese board with edible flowers, and I abruptly stop spacing out because (A) Ivy, and (B) cheese.

I walk over to the sitting area to pop a bite of baked brie into my mouth and eat a couple of round berries the color of an egg yolk.

“So, you think it’ll work this time?” asks Ivy.

“The cheese? It’s definitely working.”

I give my belly a comical rub, but she doesn’t laugh.

“The experiment.” Ivy tucks her legs underneath her and picks at some pomegranate arils.

“Are you kidding?! It’s totally gonna work!” I hype myself up so I can hype her up. Don’t let the doubts slither into my brain. The whispers that tell me we’ve been trying for months and we thought we’d have it figured out in weeks. The shadows that hiss that it may be impossible, and what are we going to do then? Oops, guess the doubts slithered in after all.

I leap up from the table. “HEY, WHAT’S THIS?”

Ivy glances at me. “Huh?”

“These flowers.” I point at the furry pink cotton balls that strongly resemble the trees in a children’s book my mom used to read to me. “I’m, like, fascinated by them. What are they?”

“I know what you’re doing.” The left side of Ivy’s mouth curves upward.

“What? Showing an interest in your hobbies? Being curious about nature’s wonders?”

“Distracting me.”

“Is it working?”

She can’t help but crack a grin. “Yes.”

“So . . . what are they?”

“Mimosa trees.” She walks over and plucks one of the fluffy pink flowers. She holds it out to me. “Smell it.”

I breathe in, and then I sigh out because these flowers, wow. “They’re amazing. Like honey and almonds and a summer breeze, and something spicy I can’t quite put my finger on.”

“Ginger,” says Ivy, looking incredibly pleased with my assessment.

“Yeah, that.” I sigh again because I still feel a little daydreamy after inhaling the flower.

“When I was little, I used to call them powderpuff trees, and I’d pick the flowers and pretend to do my makeup with them.” She brushes the flower along my cheekbones like a blush brush, and I shiver.

“I bet you were the cutest kid ever.”

Her smile falters, but just for a second. She doesn’t like to talk about her childhood.

“You can make a tincture with the flowers that alleviates depression. Well, that’s the folklore anyway, but I think there might be some scientific merit it.” (Classic Ivy recovery.)

I move along to another raised flower bed, and Ivy pushes the flower into the soil of the bed with her hand, then swoops her fingers around it gracefully like a ballerina until it grows into a tiny mimosa tree.

“I will never get over you doing that. It’s like magic.”

Ivy narrows her eyes. “Science.”

“But in some ways, aren’t they the same thing?” I skip along to some shiny-looking blueberries before she can get too ruffled. “Oh! How ’bout these?! Let me guess! They turn you into a blueberry. Nope, too obvious. Temporary telepathy? I’ve always wanted to know what Officer Montoya thinks about when she’s not interrogating people.” If I could really have that, the ability to break into people’s minds, I could find the location of the man stalking me in the time it takes to snap my fingers. I open my mouth wide, ready to eat a berry right off the branch.

A giant elephant’s ear leaf leans over, forming a bright green barrier against my face. “Um, those are belladonna, and they can kill you,” says Ivy.

“Oops.” And then I eye the plant skeptically. “Just one of those little berries?”

“I mean, maybe if you’re lucky, it’ll just be delirium or hallucinations, but yes, deadly nightshade. Poison of the ages. Used to make witches fly and women’s eyes dilate.”

“Wut.”

“It was a whole thing to look prettier in medieval times. Zero out of ten. Would not recommend.”

“Oh-ho-kay. No belladonna for me.”

But what if it wasn’t just poison? What if it was poison and powers? Would the juice be worth the squeeze?

My timer buzzes from across the room.

“Oh! My experiment!”

I run over and eyeball the toxicity levels and then export the results so I can analyze them. Ivy buzzes around me while trying to pretend she’s not hovering.

“Huh. It’s still showing high levels of toxins when you think about me. Or when you think about anything at all, really. Not as high as when you think about Woodrue, though, so that’s something!”

Ivy takes a step back and sits on the table. “Yeah. For sure.” But her voice is hollow, and I know no amount of excited plant questions are going to fix this.

I sit next to her and press my shoulder against hers.

“It’s okay. We’ll keep trying.”

She nods.

I have another idea I’m working on--one where I try to isolate exactly what it is in Ivy’s saliva/body/whatever that’s keeping her from dying from her own toxin, but I’ve had absolutely zero luck finding it so far, so I don’t mention it. It’s been hard to keep our hopes up lately.

It’s not just our kissing problem. We’ve hardly made any progress on trying to find the missing girls or the trafficking gang either. I remember how powerful I felt last semester watching The Scarecrow get arrested during grand rounds. Realizing that I hadn’t been pushed into those chemicals--I’d jumped so that the very last of the mind-control chips would be destroyed. And even though I knew it wasn’t over, that The Scarecrow had intended to supply those chips to a bigger operation that had been kidnapping girls all over the city, I wasn’t worried then. I told Ivy we’d cure ourselves and find the missing girls in a single spring-break road trip. And now it’s summer, and we’re still right where we started. No progress. And that’s with the mastermind behind the missing girls sending me serial-killer letters in the mail for the last two months.

Sometimes the letters aren’t all he sends. Sometimes there are “gifts.” Packages tied up with twine. Dolls nestled in tissue paper. Horrific, ugly little things with bat wings sewn into their backs and tentacles coming out of their faces.

And the letters that come with them . . .


I discovered the most intriguing girl in a back alley yesterday. Her face is plain, and I think she may be addicted to a couple of vices, but I already have ideas for how to transform her. What do you think? Beautiful, no?


Because it turns out the dolls he sends me aren’t just dolls. They’re plans. Blueprints. This isn’t your usual human-trafficking operation. He’s taking the girls because he wants to make them “transcendent.” Turn them into what his sadistic brain thinks of as art. I shudder just thinking about it.

Every time he takes a girl, I get a letter and a doll. Every time. He used to keep them on a shelf in his (no doubt dreadful) lair, but now he sends them to me because apparently I’m just that special. And every time I get one, I feel that much more like a failure. Another girl mangled. One more I’ve failed to save. It got to where my hands shook every time I checked my Gotham U mailbox.

Another benefit of staying at Ivy’s? The Dollmaker doesn’t know where I am. I’ll get a break from his ghastly presents, if only for a week.

When I got that first letter, and the first doll that went with it, I was disgusted. Panic-stricken. But it gave me something to follow up on. The man behind the trafficking gang, one of the two men who were collaborating with The Scarecrow, had revealed himself to me. Named himself, even--The Dollmaker. And I already knew one of his other aliases, Anton, from his emails to The Scarecrow. He wasn’t being nearly as careful as he should have been.

Why is it so hard to find him, though? I’ve been to every dive bar and hole-in-the-wall in the East End, seeing if I can get some drunk person to spill that they maybe thought they saw something a few days ago. I’ve pumped my underworld connections for any information they might have on a guy named Anton or someone who goes by “The Dollmaker.” I’ve asked all the girls in my old neighborhood if they’ve noticed anyone more suspicious than usual lurking around. But other than the confirmation that, yes, girls are disappearing more rapidly than normal, and a couple people claiming to have seen the same idling black car, I’ve got nothing. I think back to my gap year, when I was part of the Reckoning. How much the five of us accomplished in such a short amount of time. Sometimes I wonder if the reason Ivy and I are having trouble making progress is because it’s just the two of us.

I never ended up hearing back from Jasmin and Bianca last semester, even though I sent them a bunch of texts. Jasmin’s still a grad student at Gotham U for another year, so I guess I could find her on campus taking summer classes. I want to find out how Bianca’s back surgery went too. It was months ago that she broke her back trying to follow a trafficking gang on a mission that I couldn’t risk helping with. Months ago that they flew her to Santa Prisca for experimental surgery.

Praise

Perfect for hard-core fans and new readers looking to fall in love with this smart, rebellious, iconic character.” –Julian Winters, Award-winning author of As You Walk On By

"Maniacally plotted and diabolically feminist, Harley Quinn: Reckoning shreds misogyny with science and features a girl gang that readers won’t be able to get enough of. Every girl who’s ever been pushed aside, overlooked, or held back will root for Harleen and be clamoring for more."—Lisa Maxwell, author of the New York Times Bestselling The Last Magician series

Harley Quinn: Reckoning is a powerhouse of a villain origin story that sizzles with tension and terror, humor and heart. Allen deftly weaves weighty themes, such as sexism, classism, the way our experiences shape who we become and the way we shatter expectations, into a gripping and witty whodunit. This version of Harley Quinn is my new fave supervillain-in-the-making and I can't wait to read more!”—Gilly Segal, New York Times bestselling author of I'm Not Dying With You Tonight

PRH Education High School Collections

All reading communities should contain protected time for the sake of reading. Independent reading practices emphasize the process of making meaning through reading, not an end product. The school culture (teachers, administration, etc.) should affirm this daily practice time as inherently important instructional time for all readers. (NCTE, 2019)   The Penguin Random House High

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PRH Education Translanguaging Collections

Translanguaging is a communicative practice of bilinguals and multilinguals, that is, it is a practice whereby bilinguals and multilinguals use their entire linguistic repertoire to communicate and make meaning (García, 2009; García, Ibarra Johnson, & Seltzer, 2017)   It is through that lens that we have partnered with teacher educators and bilingual education experts, Drs.

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PRH Education Classroom Libraries

“Books are a students’ passport to entering and actively participating in a global society with the empathy, compassion, and knowledge it takes to become the problem solvers the world needs.” –Laura Robb   Research shows that reading and literacy directly impacts students’ academic success and personal growth. To help promote the importance of daily independent

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