Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Full Ride
November 12th 2013, Simon & Schuster
When Becca Jones' father is sent to jail for running a variety of scams and embezzling a lot of money, she and her mother decide to move from Georgia to a small Ohio town where their generic last names insure that no one will connect them to the criminal father. It is tough to start over again, but Mr. Trumbull, their lawyer, has arranged it so that Becca can enter school with just home schooling test results, and her mother can get a job as a nurse. Things go swimmingly until Becca starts her senior year and starts to think about college. She would like to go to Vanderbilt, but realizes that she would need financial aid-- and her mother tells her that they can never fill out any forms because her father was in bigger trouble than they thought, and there are people who might come after them. Becca applies for a local full-ride scholarship in honor of a girl from her high school, and in doing so inadvertently spills all of her secrets. Not only is this bad, but she finds out from her mother that a large corporation, Excellerand, is involved and perhaps wanting to hurt them. Or is it others from their past who do?
Strengths: This reminded me of some of the Caroline Cooney thrillers and was a fast, interesting read. The details about starting over and hiding from authorities would appeal to my students. This would be a must purchase for high school libraries.
Weaknesses: I'm not sure that middle school students would be all that interested in the college application process/obsession. I could have done without the odd circumstances surrounding the full-ride scholarship for some reason. It was an odd note.