Posts Tagged 'Kidnapping'

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages: 471

RAC:  Yes

2010-2011 Iowa Teen Award Winner

Katsa lives in a world where some people are born with special powers called Graces.  Katsa believes her grace to be one for killing and hates herself for fulfilling the terrible tasks her King makes her do.  One day she meets a man named Po from another country who is looking for his grandfather who was kidnapped.  Katsa had already rescued the old man, but they did not want to release that information due to the fact that they still do not know who kidnapped him in the first place.  As Katsa and Po start to investigate who might want to hurt his family, they become fearful that they may have to save everyone from a corrupt king using an immoral grace.

This fantasy story was original and unique in a way that makes the reader want to keep reading.  The story contains interesting and colorful characters as well as an exciting, and at times suspenseful, plot that is full of surprises until the end.  Recommended for students and adults who like fantasy books.  The idea of the graces is interesting and lends an extra layer of intrigue to this tale that will no doubt be around for a long time.


Dirty Laundry by Daniel Ehrenhaft


Genre: Mystery/Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 229

RAC Book: yes

Carli is an actress who has just landed a role as a tough boarding school girl, which is a problem because she considers herself a “nerd.” Her agent sends her to The Winchester School, which is the boarding school where all the students who were rejected from other boarding schools go. They are called the “dirty laundry.”  Her agent’s son, FUN, is supposed to be Carli’s assistant and help her keep her undercover identity of Sheila Smith. On the first day of school a girl named Darcy goes missing and no one seems that worried about it. Carli and FUN decide to do some investigating on their own and start to worry about some of the people around them. Could some of their friends be possible kidnappers or even murderers? Or is someone setting others up to take the fall for their crimes?

This is a very lighthearted mystery in which there is a sinister plot going on, but it is very subtle and not always the focus of the story. The perspective changes from Carli to FUN throughout the story.  Both of them focus a lot on themselves and their own situations and observations of what is going on around them. Some students will feel it drags in the middle, but if they make it, will enjoy the ending. A fast and enjoyable, but fortgettable read.

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  522

RAC:  Yes

CeeCee Wilkes is a sixteen-year-old girl whose mother died when she was twelve.  Now she is a high school graduate and living on her own trying to support herself as a waitress.  She hopes to save enough money to go to college one day.  Her favorite regular customer, Timothy Gleason, is rich and handsome, so she is thrilled when he shows some interest in her.  Soon they are dating and she feels she is in love with him and finally has a place to belong.  When he tells her his sister is on death row for a murder that was self defense, CeeCee finds herself helping in a scheme to get her freed.  Timothy and his brother plan to kidnap the governor’s wife in order to get him to release their sister.  Meanwhile, CeeCee is supposed to watch the hostage while the negotiations go down.  What CeeCee doesn’t count on is the fact that the governor’s wife is 8 months pregnant with a high risk pregnancy.  When the stress of the situation leads her to go into labor early, CeeCee does not know what to do or where to go and the situaiton quickly escalates out of control.  Once the baby is born, CeeCee is unable to stop the bleeding and the woman dies.   CeeCee knows that her life will never be the same again and she has some very difficult decisions to make.  Will she ever see Timothy again?  Will she have to change her name?  Will she have to go to jail for her role in this crime?  What will happen to the baby?

For readers who enjoy Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve, or similar authors this would be a good story.  It delves into the emotions and motivations of the characters while following an interesting story.  Readers will come to care about what happens to CeeCee and the baby despite the terrible circumstances that bring them together.  The ideas of taking responsibility for one’s actions and second chances are pronounced throughout the story.  The plot will keep readers thinking about justice long after finishing the book.

Little Face by Sophie Hannah

Genre: Suspense, Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of pages: 310 p.

RAC Book: Yes

The story begins when Alice who has just left her two week old baby for the first time ventures out for two hours and comes home to find she does not know the baby in the crib. She believes that someone has come into her mother-in-law’s house, where her and her husband live, and snatched her baby only to replace it with another newborn. Her husband becomes angry with her as she refuses to accept that this is her baby and insists on calling the police. The police have a difficult time deciding how to proceed since no babies have been reported missing and there is a baby present at the house.

The story alternates between Alice and one of the police detectives. He is generally accepted to be a really good detective and feels that this case is not as innocent as it first appears. He does not know if he believes Alice about someone switching the babies, but believes something is amiss. His colleagues all believe Alice is crazy and suffering from depression and psychosis from her difficult delivery.

The mystery was intriguing all the way up until everything is explained.  The resolution is not as good as one would hope after such an intriguing mystery has been set up.  There are moments where Alice’s husband shows tortuous feelings toward her for casting doubt on their family. It is never fully explained why she allows him to do this to her. The ending is satisfying, but unbelievable. The details provided weave together to form a good pace and some surprises as details are revealed, but again the motivations of the characters in their actions is not always fully explained. Readers who enjoy mystery and suspense will enjoy this, but anyone who has difficulty with people undergoing very degrading and difficult situations will find it troubling.

Vanishing Act by John Feinstein

Genre:  Mystery/Sports

Age Level:  12 and up

# of Pages:  279

RAC Book: Yes

Vanishing Act follows two young reporters, Susan Carol and Stevie, whom readers might remember from Last Shot: a Final Four Mystery.  In this story, Susan Carol and Stevie are writing about the US Open.  They are staying with Susan Carol’s uncle, who is an agent.  When one of the most anticipated players vanishes between the locker room and the court complete chaos ensues. The player was originally from Russia, so her parents immediately blame the Russian mafia, but Stevie thinks that answer seems too convenient.

Susan Carol and Stevie use some creative methods for finding out information regarding their cases, but many times their plans seem plausible.  Soon Stevie becomes suspicious of Susan Carol’s uncle, which creates some tension as he is then told to find somewhere new to sleep.  This distraction, however, does not even slow these young reporters down as they try to find out the truth.

This book has all of the charm of the first and in many ways builds on the characters to create an even better mystery with many layers.  The disappearance of the tennis player is only the beginning as Susan Carol and Stevie try to find answers.  When some of the information they find is troubling or dangerous to themselves, they continue to push ahead.  Students who like to read about sports and/or mysteries will be fans of this book.