Michael Northrop is the "New York Times" bestselling author of TombQuest, an epic book and game adventure series featuring the magic of ancient Egypt. He is also the author of "Trapped," an Indie Next List Selection, and "Plunked," a New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing Selection and an NPR Backseat Book Club Pick. An editor at "Sports Illustrated Kids" for many years, he now writes full-time from his home in New York City. Learn more at www.michaelnorthrop.net.
Northrop's debut is one dark ride, as events spin out of control for three friends who haven't had many lucky breaks. High school sophomores Micheal (the narrator), Tommy, Mixer and Bones are a pretty tight crew. (And, yes, that's how Micheal's name is spelled: "Mom or Dad, one of them dropped the ball on that one, probably Dad, in the hospital or wherever it is you fill out that paperwork.") Then Tommy goes missing. It isn't the first time, so the guys aren't initially too worried, but as time passes-and following increasingly unsettling interactions with their English teacher, Mr. Haberman, during a unit on Crime and Punishment-they begin to suspect that the teacher is involved in Tommy's disappearance. Micheal, who has an eye injury stemming from a childhood incident, is a sympathetic but unreliable narrator-something he himself recognizes ("Having a messed-up eye, you know, it'll affect how you see things"). The brutal narration, friendships put through the wringer and the sense of dread that permeates the novel will keep readers hooked through the violent climax and its aftermath. Ages 15-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Gr 7 Up-Micheal, Tommy, Mixer, and Bones aren't so much viewed as troublemakers at Tattawa High School as they are personas non grata. On the fringe, the four friends struggle their way through school and to survive their dysfunctional families. When Tommy disappears, his friends write it off as another one of his escapades until Mr. Haberman, their remedial English teacher, starts speaking in riddles that lead them to believe that he may have killed the boy. Despite an interesting cast of flawed misfits and an edgy concept, Northrop doesn't bring the gritty tale to its full potential because of a slogging pace and meandering narrative.-Terri Clark, Smokey Hill Library, Centennial, CO Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.