Cassie discovers that her stepfather, Rick, a teen psychiatrist, has been illegally prescribing a new behavioral drug to his patients�and three teens have died. Before she can report him, Rick commits Cassie to Peaceful Cove, a boot camp for troubled teens in Mexico. Cassie knows she has to get out now, before more teens die. But no one has ever escaped from Peaceful Cove alive�and even if Cassie gets over the walls and survives the Mexican desert, will anyone believe her story?
Henry's (the Claire Montrose mystery series) first YA thriller is a suspenseful tale of betrayal. As the novel opens, 10th-grader Cassie is kidnapped in her own driveway as her mother and psychiatrist stepfather, Rick, not only stand by and watch, but also hand the men a suitcase. Chapters alternate from the present to the events of the past few days, during which Cassie has uncovered Rick's files about teen patients who had committed suicide while on a drug called Socom (in which he has a heavy financial investment). Consequently, Rick plants drugs in Cassie's room to convince her mother that the girl belongs in a school for troubled teens in Mexico. The place is a like a prison. Cassie and nearly 200 other teenagers are not allowed to talk; they must abide by a rigid set of dehumanizing rules, and are cruelly punished if they do not comply. The supporting characters may be two-dimensional (when Cassie's sole friend walks her home, Rick says, "Is that really the kind of young man you want to be associating with? Research shows that a child's friends can have a significant impact on academic standing and social labeling"), but the alternating chapters help to build suspense. The meat of the story is Cassie's attempt to escape. She is an appealing, resourceful character struggling against too many odds-and readers may well stick with this tale to see if she succeeds. Ages 12-up.Copyright � Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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October 01, 2008
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