Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reality Check by Peter Abrahams

Things are going pretty well for Cody: he has a great relationship with his girlfriend, he's the QB on the football team, he's sliding by in school. Then, one by one, everything starts to fall apart. Clea, his girlfriend, is sent to a private boarding school across the country. He injures his knee in a game and is forced to give up on the idea of high school football. School loses its meaning and he eventually decides to sort of drop out. His new life consists of his job and the gym until one day he hears the news: Clea has gone missing. Cody immediately picks up and heads off to Vermont to find her. But before he can do that, he has to figure out what was going on in her life that he knew nothing about.

I tend to think of mystery/thrillers as either balls of yarn or puzzles - you either unwind everything to reach the end, or things just click into place. This was a puzzle book. Even after I finished the book, I was still realizing how so many of the details just locked into place. Those details are the book's strength; Clea and Cody never really became full characters to me, although they definitely held my interest. It's a plot-driven book, but a plot-driven book that works. The cover art made me think that it would be a violent thriller in the vein of the Hunger Games books, but it's not; it has more in common with action mysteries. This was my first Peter Abrahams book; I'd be curious to see how this stands up next to his other books.

Reality Check is nominated for a 2010 Edgar award.

Find it at Amazon.

Read it with:
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Gentlemen by Michael Northrop
If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney

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