A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that despite the apparent commercialism of a series of 10 books tied to a Web site that promotes their purchase, this is an excellent book by a talented writer. Each book in the series will have a different author, all writing under the pen name of Stella Lennon (this one is written by Melissa Kantor). Because of that, the quality of the subsequent titles may change. Complex themes are age appropriate and thought provoking. Besides a hit-and-run accident by a 14-year-old driver and one parent who drinks too much, the characters are very positive.
What's the story?
Callie and two other random ninth-graders are called to the vice-principal’s office to explain an act of vandalism -- or give up the girl who did it. The girl who did it, Amanda, has disappeared only months after arriving at their school, but she left many messages behind. As they pursue why she implicated them they discover many lies. Convinced that the lies had a higher purpose of uniting them, they seek more clues, and the truth about where Amanda has gone.
Is it any good?
The writing and the book design are both beautiful. Main characters are smart, resilient, and optimistic -- Kantor’s dialogue is spot on, and the characters will resonate with readers. Callie’s life is a roller coaster, and yet her new-found friendships empower her. Amanda’s disappearance seems to lead to more secrets and more revelations at the same time, and Callie finds the strength, and the support, to make some big changes in her life. Courage leads to confrontations that help many people; but Amanda is still missing.
This is a cliffhanger that will have readers anxiously awaiting the next book, and the Web site may inspire them creatively.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Amanda wanted to bring Callie together with her two new friends.
Does the intent behind Amanda's actions justify the results (detention for Callie and two others)? How about the anxiety and worry she causes them?
Why does Callie drop her old friends, and is she right?
Does it help Callie or hurt her to keep the secret about her missing mother?
What is the biggest mystery in the book?
For kids who love friendship tales and mysteries
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.