Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Finding themselves unjustly committed to afternoon detention in Mr. Avery’s class, Simon, Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, and Nate share an experience that will change their lives together. Just when Mr. Avery steps out of the room, Simon has a sudden allergic reaction. The kids respond, but not fast enough, and Simon doesn’t make it. Now the police are saying that one of them caused the attack on purpose. A thrilling and suspenseful “whodunit” mystery, this novel tracks the “Bayview Four” as they try to figure out for themselves exactly how Simon died that day, and in doing so they discover that each of them had plenty of reason for resentment towards Simon.
McManus’s writing perfectly encapsulates the drama of high school, and with it the drama of the murder mystery. The students are raw and modern in their language, dress, and behavior. A contemporary reader would certainly relate to the characters and become absorbed in their lives. As a contemporary murder mystery, this book is not appropriate for young children. Sensitive material includes multiple cases of teens using vulgar language, some brief acknowledgements of the characters’ sex lives, and some violence. For a young adult of the proper maturity level, this will be an engaging book that is difficult to put down.
*Contains severe language, moderate sexual content, and moderate violence.