Zack Bernard has a thing for crime shows, especially the forensic-investigation kind. So when his friend Ella goes missing, Zack can’t help piecing together what he thinks is concrete evidence that could lead to her whereabouts. The problem is, it’s all pointing toward his dad. He knows his dad is lying about not having seen Ella because Zack saw them together at the mall the day she disappeared. What he doesn’t know is why. With the help of his friend Ayo, Zack tries to solve the mystery himself to avoid having to make the ter-rible choice between losing someone close to him and betraying his family.
Potentially Sensitive Areas: None
Kirkus Reviews (December 1, 2018)
When his friend goes missing, Zack Bernard realizes her disappearance is not the only mystery. The story focuses on Zack, a West Indian–Canadian teen living in Toronto who’s a fan of true-crime shows and plans to become a detective. When his friend Ella Larson disappears, Zack can’t let the police be the only ones investigating—especially because he knows something the police don’t: Zack saw Ella with his guidance-counselor father at the mall and, later, getting into his car. Afraid to jeopardize his father’s job, Zack withholds this information. Zack’s dad refuses to talk to him about what he saw, his friend Ayo Mohammed thinks he needs to respect the confidentiality of his father’s records, and they both think Zack should let the police handle everything. But his gut instinct says something terrible happened to Ella, and Zack’s going to do everything he can to find out what it is even if he finds out something he didn’t want to know. A challenge with hi-lo books is displayed with this title: The plot is too complex for the format, forcing an overly tidy and sanitized conclusion to the central mystery. However, readers will definitely keep turning the pages; Zack’s and Ayo’s immigrant families provide some subtle characterization for each of them. For reluctant readers with a taste for crime, this title should scratch the itch. (Mystery/thriller. 12-18)
School Library Journal (February 1, 2019)
Gr 8 Up-This continuing series follows teenagers dealing with transitions. Logan is a photographer reeling from the recent death of her mother in The Unbroken Hearts Club. When she and her best friend Cole begin attending bereavement meetings hosted by her father, she is forced to confront her loss, as well as her possible feelings for Cole. Aspiring criminologist Zack’s best friend goes missing in Thicker Than Water-and all signs point to Zack’s father being involved, all while his parents’ marriage falls apart. In The Bodyguard, Ryan, known as “Replay,” is a star football player who dreams of becoming a filmmaker. To raise the money to apply to film school, he begins working as a bodyguard to Markus, an Estonian exchange student with dark secrets tied to online gambling. Readers will be enticed by the edgy themes and compelling stories of adolescents following their dreams. VERDICT Written at a third and fourth grade reading level, these novels are distinguished by multidimensional characters and briskly paced plots. © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.
About the Author
Natasha Deen’s family moved from Guyana, South America to Canada to escape the country’s political & racial violence. She loved growing up in a country of snow & flannel, but often felt out of place. Thank goodness for books that showed her being different could also mean being awesome. Natasha lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her family where she spends A LOT of time arguing with her cats and dogs about who’s the boss of the house.
Her website is www.natashadeen.com
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