Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Verbena "Verbie" has always been different.  She is tiny, and she looks different than the other kids she comes across in school and elsewhere.  It isn't until she learns that she's adopted, that things begin to make sense.

Verbie's adoptive parents love her dearly, but when she is told about her biological parents, Verbie begins to act out.  It's not easy to learn that her mother drank heavily during her pregnancy causing Verbie to suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome.  She was underweight and remained smaller than most of her classmates and her upper lip is strangely smooth.  Verbie also discovers that her father broke a man's neck in a fit of rage and is now in jail.  It's no wonder that Verbie is angry and lashing out at everyone around her.

When a New York City woman and her young son rent the empty house next door to Verbie, she thinks maybe this summer will be different.  Unfortunately, the first interaction with the new neighbors involves the city woman throwing rocks at and threatening Verbie's three-legged dog.  Verbie ducks for cover and decides to steer clear of these vicious people.

Rumor has it that the long empty house is haunted by a previous resident, a little girl who drowned in the nearby lake.  Verbie's first contact with the city boy comes when he stumbles across her checking out an old rowboat stuck in the mucky shoreline.  Verbie is dressed in her white nightgown, dirty and torn from her hike through the woods to the lake.  The young boy mistakes her for the ghost of the little girl, and Verbie doesn't deny his assumption.  The boy introduces himself as Pooch, and together they decide to try to fix up the old boat.  What follows is a heartwarming story about friendship and self-discovery.

Author Sarah Weeks has followed up her extraordinary novel SO B. IT with one equally as good.  AS SIMPLE AS IT SEEMS is perfect for middle grade readers.  Weeks portrays Verbie struggling with the new knowledge of her past and the rollercoaster emotions of feeling different in a way that will have readers eagerly turning pages.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


LAWN BOY by Gary Paulsen
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID series by Jeff Kinney
PERCY JACKSON series by Rick Riordan
SWIM THE FLY by Don Calame
STEPPING UP by Mark Fink
SKATE by Michael Harmon
BAD GIRLS DON'T DIE by Katie Alender
WINGS by Aprilynne Pike
STORY OF A GIRL by Sara Zarr
GYM CANDY by Carl Deuker
BOOST by Kathy Mackel
TWISTED by Laurie Halse Anderson
CIRQUE DU FREAK series by Darren Shan
BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARE series by Laurie Farie Stolarz
CHRISTY MILLER collection by Robin Jones Gunn
GETTING AIR by Dan Gutman
FIRST BOY by Gary Schmidt
A SONG FOR JEFFREY by Constance M. Foland
REMEMBER ME trilogy by Christopher Pike
THE BATBOY by Mike Lupica
LUSH by Natasha Friend
TAMAR by Mal Peet
EDENVILLE OWLS by Robert B. Parker
THE WEIGHT OF THE SKY by Lisa Ann Sandell
PERFECT by Natasha Friend
THE DIARY OF A WIMPY KID series by Jeff Kinney
DESERT BLOOD 10pm/9c by Ronald Cree
RUNNER by Carl Deuker
GOLDEN by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
DEMONATA series by Darren Shan
SNAKEHEAD by Anthony Horowitz
WINGS by Aprilynne Pike
COMEBACK by Vicki Grant
BOSTON JANE trilogy by Jennifer L. Holm
DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK series by Marlene Perez
LAST CHANCE by Lesley Choyce
RESPONSE by Paul Volponi
BULL RIDER by Suzanne Morgan Williams
SKATE by Michael Harmon
CHARLIE BONE series by Jenny Nimmo

Friday, November 26, 2010


It all started when little Daniel disappeared.  Anderson "Andi" and her friend Jeff were told they had to take Danny with them on their walk.  They hiked through the woods to the fairy fort.  The two teens only took their eyes off him for a minute.  Danny was gone. 

A frantic search followed, only to discover Danny had fallen some twenty feet down into an abandoned well.  The rescue effort that followed lasted three days.  Most of the volunteers and townspeople thought little Danny would not survive, but somehow the heartfelt prayers of the faithful worked a miracle and the little boy was rescued and simply treated for cuts and bruises.

After Danny's rescue, strange things began to happen in and around the town of Paradise, Pennsylvania.  Danny's miraculous survival seemed to be contagious.  Many believers began to credit him with healing the sick, communicating with the lost, and even bringing the fish back to the local lake.  He had become the "Miracle Boy."

The problem was that Danny was now several years older, and when he was called upon to "pray" for some miracle cure or recovery, his older sister Andi worried that he didn't truly have any special powers.  What if one day his prayers weren't answered?  Would he understand or would he take the failure to heart and shoulder unbearable guilt?  Why wouldn't people just leave him alone?

Andi has seen enough.  Her mother seems to want to exploit Danny and his miracle cures.  Andi blames her mother for driving away her father.  Anger as well as fear for her brother's safety is driving Andi to devise a cunning and dangerous plan to convince Danny's followers that he is just a normal little boy.  Will she succeed before well-meaning locals and nutcases coming from near and far manage to ruin the life of her innocent little brother?

THE MIRACLE STEALER is the story of faith.  Is faith something that can be proven with facts or is it the feeling that what happens is controlled by that higher authority?  Author Neil Connelly takes readers on a journey with Andi as she struggles to decide if she has faith or if fate depends on her actions alone.  It is a struggle many face, often more than once in life.  Connelly's story will speak to many and perhaps answer the question for some.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

THE KID TABLE by Andrea Seigel

Alright, I'll admit it, a book with mac and cheese on the cover grabs my attention.  Sigh...it's a weakness I have grown to accept.  My gluttonous desires aside, here's a review of THE KID TABLE by Andrea Seigel.

The cousins have been sitting at the Kid Table for as long as they can remember.  They've had a lot of fun sitting off to the side of the grownups' table over the years.  The thing is most of the "kids" are bordering on being grownups now themselves.  Ingrid is a senior in high school, and Brianne is in college. Cricket, Dom, Micah, and Autumn are well on their way to adulthood, too.  Only little Katie, not yet in kindergarten, really qualifies as a kid anymore.  Yet, here they all sit at each family celebration.

The story begins with the Bar Mitzvah.  Uncle Kurt is forty-six, but he's decided that converting to the Jewish faith and having a Bar Mitzvah is the next important milestone in his life.  The family has gathered, of course, to show their support.

Somehow Ingrid has become the center of the conversation at the Kid Table.  Brianne, a psychology major, has declared that Ingrid is a psychopath.  She is ticking off a list of behaviors she insists verify her diagnosis.  Ingrid finds it difficult to defend herself as she listens to Brianne recount the sudden and mysterious deaths of so many of Ingrid's beloved pets over the years.  Just because her dog Long John died of old age while asleep at the foot of her bed, doesn't make his death her responsibility.  Or does it?

As these older "kids" find themselves attending family events like the Bar Mitzvah, Thanksgiving, New Year's Brunch, and more, this cast of cousins reveals all their unique and interesting characteristics.  One cousin's anorexia is becoming more apparent, another is most definitely gay, and yet another's changing behavior and dress are crying out for some sort of attention.  As Ingrid tells their story, she battles with her own guilt about possibly being in love with her older cousin's boyfriend.

Author Andrea Seigel brings back many a childhood memory for readers who can recall their own experiences while dining at the Kid Table.  These infrequent holiday get-togethers offer cousins a chance to catch up, cause a little mischief, and also reveal the growing pains and stress of getting older and someday living up to family expectations.  Quirky characters mixed up in sometimes all-to-real situations make THE KID TABLE a memorable and enjoyable read.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


High school for David is about running on the track team, hanging out with his friend Eddie, and dating Kick.  Lately, however, he has been feeling strange. 

In track his track performance has been unsteady at best.  When Sean steps forward to offer his help as a pacer, David is pleased, but maybe a bit too pleased.  Being around Sean makes him nervous but in a good way.  He thinks he'd like to be around Sean more than just at track practice.

Then there's Eddie.  They've been friends since elementary school.  Eddie has suddenly decided that it's time to come out as gay.  When he invites David to join his new Gay/Straight Alliance club, David puts his foot down and refuses.

Kick and David have been dating long enough that David realizes it is probably time to make a move.  He knows she is expecting something, but just getting up the nerve to kiss her is more than he can handle at the moment.

David is beginning to wonder just exactly what is going on.  He is finding it more and more difficult to shower and dress in the same locker-room with Sean.  The guy is like a magnet drawing David closer all the time.  Finally, it happens.  They have a moment together that confirms what David has been feeling.  It's Sean he loves not Kick.  But now that David has come to terms with who he is, Sean doesn't seem to be able to do the same.

Author Lee Bantle takes readers into the life of a young teen struggling to understand his sexuality.  Bantle describes David's inner battle to recognize his true self as well as his need to be accepted by those he loves.  The excitement of young love and the fear of rejection have David hiding his true feelings from family and friends.  DAVID INSIDE OUT provides a positive perspective for teens struggling with similar issues whether personally or as a friend.


THE FENCES BETWEEN US by Kirby Larson is a new book in the Dear America series.  Having already read Larson's HATTIE BIG SKY, I knew she would handle the historical subject matter in a way that would make the reader feel part of the past.  I wasn't disappointed.

Piper Davis lives in Seattle, Washington.  It is 1941, and her older brother has just enlisted in the Navy.  The worst thing she can imagine happens when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.  Her brother was one of the few lucky survivors from the USS Arizona.  In fact, his heroic actions also saved a friend and fellow crew member.

With her brother still on active duty but safe, Piper focuses on how her life at home is changing because of the war.  Her older sister had been enrolled at the university, but she drops out to go to work in a factory to support the troops.  Residents of Seattle feel the effects of the war as they prepare for "black outs" in case of enemy attacks, plant victory gardens in their backyards, and "do without" as rationing begins. 

Piper's father is dealing with another change brought on by the war.  He is the pastor of the Japanese Baptist church.  Fear and prejudice quickly spread creating hard feelings and hate.  When the government decides that moving the Japanese to incarceration camps is the way to handle the situation, Pastor Davis fights to keep his congregation together.  When he realizes the fight is over and his church members must be relocated, he decides to take Piper and follow them.

Piper hates leaving her sister, her friends, and her school, but what choice does she have.  She and her father move into a rented house near the internment camp.  The Japanese children she has grown up with are forced to live with their families in horrible conditions, but as Piper visits them and eventually begins to attend school at the camp, she is amazed at the resilient attitude of these proud people.  They are determined to survive and even thrive despite the fact that the country they call home has turned its back on them.

Kirby Larson describes the living conditions and treatment of the Japanese in vivid detail.  Using the experiences of an actual Baptist pastor who continued to serve his loyal church members, she keeps true to the historical facts surrounding the incarceration of tens of thousands of Japanese held near Eden and Twin Falls, Idaho.  She explains that as the war raged on in Europe and the Pacific, another battle was waged right here on American soil. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

THE RIVER by Mary Jane Beaufrand

Moving the family to a tiny town in Oregon was supposed to create a safer, simpler life for the Severance family.  Ronnie's Dad was a lawyer in the big city, but nerves and stress have him heavily medicated for depression.  Mom has everyone working to revitalize an old inn she believes will provide income for the family and something a bit less stressful for her husband to do.  Whatever decisions were made by her parents, Ronnie feels left out and totally out of her element in Hoodoo, Oregon.

Ronnie spends most of her free time running.  It occupies her and allows her to spend time along the river, the only attraction in the community that interests her.  When she is not out running or busy helping her mother around the inn, she gets roped into babysitting for a nearby family.  It's not really her thing so she's quite surprised when an odd friendship forms between her and one of the children, a little girl named Karen.

Karen educates Ronnie in the ways of the countryside, especially the river and its wildlife and unpredictable beauty.  Ronnie is amazed at the time she spends with the little girl, and how she comes to appreciate her new surroundings.  Through Karen, Ronnie comes to know some of the locals like Ranger Dave, Gretchen, and Keith Spady.  They are all people she will come to a count on when tragedy strikes.

The day Ronnie discovers little Karen's body in the river, her world is turned upside-down.  The pint-sized adventurer was so accomplished at crossing the river on slippery rocks and skipping stones across its waters that it's hard to believe she met her end there.  Ronnie feels like she failed her small friend when attempts to resuscitate her fail.  Now she is plagued with memories of their short time together and a growing suspicion that her death may not have been an accident.

THE RIVER by Mary Jane Beaufrand is the story of an unusual friendship wrapped up in a mystery.  Filled with frequent flashbacks of Karen's carefree days, Beaufrand weaves the stories of the two girls together.  Other interesting characters and surprise twists will keep readers on their toes as they follow Ronnie's efforts to find justice for her friend.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

HOW TO STEAL A CAR by Pete Hautman

"Did you know that a car gets stolen in this country every twenty-eight seconds?"  This is Kelleigh's not-so-innocent comment to her mother as she is preparing the family's dinner.

Kelleigh doesn't even have her driver's license yet, but she is doing a lot of driving.  It started when she and her friend witnessed a businessman drop his keys in the parking lot of the mall.  He didn't notice his mistake and headed off to do whatever business he had planned.  Kelleigh picked up the keys and used them to steal her first car. 

She isn't sure exactly what motivates her.  It could be just the rush she feels when she first enters the car and starts the engine.  It could be a reaction to the tension she's feeling at home between her parents.  It might be the potential money she could earn if she keeps working with experienced car thief Deke.  Whatever it is, it is habit-forming, and she can't seem to stop.

Kelleigh comes from a good home.  Her father is a defense attorney and her mother works in real estate.  The family eats dinner around the table each night, and she goes to Pilates with her mother every Saturday morning.  They have raised her to know the difference between right and wrong.  So why is Kelleigh stealing cars? 

Pete Hautman, author of GODLESS, SWEETBLOOD, and MR. WAS, shows off his talent at creating unique storylines.  HOW TO STEAL A CAR doesn't have the classic plot where teenager steals car, gets caught, and after punishment learns a lesson.  Instead, Hautman delivers an action-packed story about a character searching for motivation.  Hautman fans will want to check out this clever, quick read.


"The first thing he saw was a soldier with a megaphone leaning through the second-floor window of one of the buildings; the second was the sixteen snipers aiming at him from the windows all around."

Events like the one above are fairly common place for Agent Six in REMOTE CONTROL, the sequel to Jack Heath's THE LAB.  It is filled with heart-stopping images just like it.

The world is still controlled by ChaoSonic and Six is still struggling to survive as he battles evil without the use of deadly force.  This time his identical twin is kidnapped by a new villain named Vanish.  Vanish mistakenly believes he has kidnapped Six and is asking for a ransom or the teen will be killed.

As Six begins the Mission to rescue his brother, he encounters a new individual, a mysterious girl who keeps herself hidden but offers survival advice Six finds quite confusing but useful if he is able to unlock the cryptic clues.  Adding difficulty to his mission is the fact that the Deck has been compromised leaving Six completely on his own.  With no one to trust, he must keep track of everyone and can't rely on anyone.

Readers looking for non-stop action, violence, and intrigue should pick up a copy of REMOTE CONTROL as soon as possible.  Jack Heath has a real knack for creating 007-type gadgets backed by spy-thriller adventures, and Agent Six's superhuman skills are sure to please.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Author Julie Anne Peters has written an incredibly powerful new book focusing on bullying and the issue of suicide as a consequence.  With this problem appearing so recently in national news, BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I'LL BE DEAD is a book to be read and taken seriously.

Overweight, misunderstood, and bullied for almost her entire life, Daelyn has already tried suicide.  Her attempts so far have failed, but after finding a website called Through-the-Light, her determination to end her life has been renewed.

After multiple attempts, the most recent resulting in permanent damage to her esophagus and vocal cords, her parents have her under close watch.  She finally regains her computer privileges which allow her to find the website that has connected her to others serious about terminating their lives.  She is officially registered on the site and has chosen her DOD - Day of Determination.  In 23 days she will be dead.

What follows is Daelyn's account of those 23 days.  She details her horrific past including "fat camp" and its humiliations, a sexual attack in the boys' restroom, and countless other bullying incidents that have stripped her of any feelings of trust or self-worth.  Feeling totally friendless and never able to confide in her parents, she has suffered alone.

During the 23 days, Daelyn does have some new insights.  As she documents her struggles online, she is able to view her past in a new light that provides a kind of release.  She also meets a boy outside her school as she waits for her mother's car each day.  This odd character has serious issues of his own, but he relentlessly pursues her friendship and helps her imagine new possibilities.

Much of this book is dark and deeply disturbing, especially when Daelyn spends time online.  To realize that there are sites like the one she visits that describe in such detail the methods and options for suicide seekers, it is frightening to think how venerable people might be influenced to take this drastic step.  Peters attacks this subject bravely and doesn't attempt to soften it or romanticize it.  She provides a needed voice for those unable to express the inner torment caused by the cruelty and viciousness of some in our society today.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

JUMP by Ginger Rue

Brinkley Harper is the queen of Story High.  Everyone knows her and many fear her.  Because of her reputation as a bully, Brinkley has been ordered to see a therapist.  If she doesn't keep her appointments, she faces possible expulsion from Story High which her parents are concerned will severely limit her college choices.  Brinkley reluctantly meets with the counselor, but she doesn't have any plans to cooperate.

Returning home from her appointment, Brinkley is greeted by Tallulah, the family's housekeeper.  Brinkley's parents may indulge her every whim, but they are usually too busy with their careers and social engagements to spend any real time with their daughter.  Tallulah takes care of Brinkley and shows extreme patience with the teen's abusive behavior. 

On this particular night Brinkley is upset by her parents' latest last minute vacation disappearance so she heads to bed.  The next thing she knows she is waking up, not in her comfortable bed, but in a classroom at Story High.  Confused and unsettled, she rushes to the nearest restroom, and what she sees as she looks in the mirror baffles her even more.  Instead of her stunningly beautiful face, she is looking at the face of a hideous goth girl named Miranda.  What is going on?

Brinkley realizes she has somehow taken over the body of one of the people she would be least likely to associate with at Story High.  Everyone she encounters believes she is this Miranda so she stumbles through her day trying to do whatever the girl would do. 

When school ends, Brinkley/Miranda heads home to Miranda's house only to discover that the poor girl lives with a rather terrifying and abusive father.  Brinkley also learns of Miranda's secret habit of self-injury which causes her to view the girl in a whole new light.

Brinkley finds out that sleep releases her from Miranda's body, and she once again has her own life back.  But she soon discovers that this is just the beginning.  Will seeing life through the eyes of those around her change how Brinkley herself views the world? 

Author Ginger Rue takes readers on a wild ride as Brinkley jumps from character to character.  Though farfetched in terms of reality, Brinkley's experiences will have readers doing a bit of self-examination.  How do we really treat others and how is that treatment perceived?  JUMP is fun and entertaining but thought-provoking as well.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

STORYTELLER by Patricia Reilly Giff

When Elizabeth's father tells her he will be traveling to Australia to sell his wood carvings, she thinks it means she'll have to stay with Mrs. Eldridge and endure her overweight bulldog and his bad breath.  She's in for a surprise.  Father says Elizabeth will be staying with her Aunt Libby, her mother's sister.

Staying with Libby means living with someone she doesn't even know and going to a new school where she doesn't have any friends.  All Father says is it is time Elizabeth learned about her mother's side of the family.

Libby makes Elizabeth feel as welcome as possible.  The house is awfully quiet and her aunt's cooking is horrible, but when Libby shows Elizabeth to the room she'll be using while she visits, everything feels a bit better.  The room belonged to Elizabeth's mother when she was a girl.  There's a handmade quilt on the bed and a cozy chair by the window perfect for snuggling up in with a good book. 

It doesn't take long for Elizabeth to discover the faded sketch of a young girl hanging in the hall.  It is amazing how much the girl resembles her.  Libby tells Elizabeth that the girl's name was Eliza "Zee", and she lived during the Revolutionary War.  Elizabeth is filled with questions about this mysterious girl from the past, and what follows is a fascinating journey into her family history.

Author Patricia Reilly Giff tells the stories of modern-day Elizabeth and 18th century Zee through alternating chapters.  Elizabeth learns not only about the mother she lost years ago, but also about her family's place in history.  Readers also hear Zee's story as she fights for survival during a time of war that separated families and tore apart lives.  Giff's gift for writing historical fiction is put to excellent use in STORYTELLER as she bridges from past to present to connect the story of two young girls.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

BEAT THE BAND by Don Calame

In the author blurb for BEAT THE BAND, author Don Calame states, "It was hard saying good-bye to the characters in SWIM THE FLY.  And then I realized I didn't have to.  I just needed to find a way to get them back into trouble again."

This reader is extremely pleased that Calame missed his characters enough to give them another chance in BEAT THE BAND.  I found them even more engaging and entertaining the second time around.

It is sophomore year, and Cooper Redmond has a new goal in life.  He has decided during his second year in high school he needs to find a way to hit all the bases, and he's not referring to athletic feats on the baseball diamond.  Cooper has his sights set on Prudence, the leader of the hottest group of popular girls in the school. 

When Mrs. Turris announces the semester long health project, Cooper sees it as his chance to shine.  He is sure the odds are in his favor and he'll score Prudence or at least one of her minions as a project partner.  When the Fates intervene and give him hated Helen Harriwick as a partner, his whole plan begins to crumble.  And if having a disastrous partner is not bad enough, the subject of their partnership project is contraception.  It's truly the end of the world for Cooper.

Cooper thinks he may have the answer to all his problems when he hears the announcement about the upcoming Battle of the Bands.  He and his buddies Matt and Sean have experimented some with the rock band idea.  Maybe they could dust off their instruments and with a little practice wow everyone with their musical talent enough to get everyone thinking of Cooper as a cool dude and not as some loser stuck with "Hot Dog" Helen.

What follows is a story hilarious and raunchy enough to hook every guy reader and gross out most girls brave enough to crack the cover.  Calame is right on target with the thoughts and antics of 10th grade boys.  His gritty locker room banter combined with offbeat characters like Cooper's dad and his crazy schemes work to create a super sequel to SWIM THE FLY.  This one has me waiting eagerly for what Calame has to offer next.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Yup, it's a new Gary Paulsen novel!  MASTERS OF DISASTER is just what its title suggests.  A group of boys share their wacky adventures. 

Henry Mosley and his pals, Riley and Reed, are out to make a name for themselves.  Their daring stunts are reminiscent of Paulsen's own adventures in HOW ANGEL PETERSON GOT HIS NAME and the stunts he describes in HARRIS AND ME. 

This one has enough action-packed disasters to keep the most reluctant of middle grade readers turning the pages.  Just prop this one up so the cover art shows, and it will sell itself.


Phoebe was raised by two loving parents who told her constantly she was an extraordinary girl, but now Phoebe's life may depend on her ability to admit she is simply ordinary.

In seventh grade Phoebe made a big decision.  She decided it was time to make some new friends.  Inspired by the arrival of a strange, new girl, Phoebe made it her goal to befriend Mallory.  The more she got to know Mallory, the more she knew the new girl needed her.  What she didn't realize, was that it was a friendship controlled by forces far beyond anything Phoebe could ever imagine.

The years passed quickly as the friendship between Phoebe and Mallory grew.  The two became inseparable.  Phoebe learned about Mallory's ailing mother, and with her own mother's help, arranged for daily care and medication so Mallory could live a more normal teenage life.  Mallory even had her own room across the hall from Phoebe's so she could get away when necessary.  The two were almost like sisters.

Phoebe wasn't totally surprised when Mallory mentioned her brother was planning a visit.  Mallory's mother's condition meant she was forced to live a rather secretive life sometimes.  This mysterious older brother had been living in Australia for years, but a career change made it possible for him to return for a surprise visit. 

Ryland has a strange magnetism that attracts Phoebe instantly.  He exhibits a quiet maturity that has Phoebe wanting to know more and more about him, however, when opportunities present themselves for private moments, Ryland makes it crystal clear that Phoebe must not let Mallory know about their relationship.  When frustration drives Phoebe to sneak a peek in Ryland's bedroom, she finds something that she cannot begin to understand or explain.

Author Nancy Werlin takes readers into the fairy realm once again in EXTRAORDINARY.  She weaves a fascinating family history into a tale of friendship, romance, and personal sacrifice.  The story of friendship is carefully constructed in the here and now, and then it is creatively mixed into the fantastic world of the fairy kingdom complete with a dying queen and her quest for a source of renewing power.  Fans of Werlin's IMPOSSIBLE will be rushing to grab this one off the shelf.

Monday, November 1, 2010

GIRL, STOLEN by April Henry

Cheyenne feels awful.  She and her step-mother have just left the doctor's office where x-rays revealed that Cheyenne has pneumonia.  Her step-mother leaves Cheyenne resting in the running car while she heads into the store to pick up a prescription.  It all seems simple until a stranger slips into the front seat and steals the car. 

As the car thief speeds out of the parking lot, a glance in the rearview mirror reveals he has a passenger, but by now it's too late.  When Cheyenne realizes what is happening, she begs her captor to release her, promising not to tell anyone.  When her promises are ignored, Cheyenne reveals the real truth - she is blind.

Griffin, the young car thief, is in a panic.  His actual target in the shopping center parking lot was to steal packages from unlocked vehicles.  Stealing a car was not part of the plan, but when he saw the classy SUV was just sitting there with its engine running, he just reacted.  Now he will be delivering a really cool car to his father, but the added surprise of a kidnapped girl is definitely going to complicate matters.

Cheyenne tries to use her remaining senses to follow the route Griffin takes into the country.  She knows she isn't far from home, but she has no idea how to figure out exactly where she is.  When her kidnappers find out she is the daughter of the company president of Nike, they are determined to demand a sizeable reward.  As they plot and plan their next step, Cheyenne listens carefully for clues revealing their names and the location of the house where she is being held. 

Author April Henry has created quite a thriller guaranteed to keep readers on the edge of their seats.  GIRL, STOLEN is filled with plenty of excitement and suspense.  There is the obvious complication of Cheyenne's blindness and the added difficulty of her physical illness and her immediate need for antibiotics.  Those problems alone would be enough for most authors, but Henry adds other creative plot twists that will keep readers on their toes.  GIRL, STOLEN is a must-read for action and adventure fans.