The best part about this book: The main character is black, his best friend is Hispanic, and the book is not about their race, although it is mentioned! It's just a good murder/mob/Witness Protection mystery! Yeay!
Giles, Lamar. Fake I.D.
January 21st 2014
Nick Pearson isn't really Nick, but in his family's newest relocation to escape his father's former boss so his father can testify against him, he is. This means a new school, but fortunately, he runs into Eli and starts working on the paper. He kind of likes Eli's twin sister Reya, but doesn't want to run afoul of her jerk jock boyfriend. Nick's father is still getting himself into trouble, and when Eli is found dead in the newsroom of an apparent suicide (his wrists are slit), Nick starts to suspect all sorts of things. The mayor's son, Dustin, gets in a car accident that kills two of his friends, and a bomb goes off at Reya's house, gravely injuring her mother. When Nick uncovers a plot to get the town some money to build new municipal buildings, he finds out that lots of people are culpable and that he was right about Eli's death being murder. Can he help put things right without endangering himself and his family?
Strengths: The students love murder mysteries, and this has some gory moments. I did like the conspiracy, how so many people were involved, the police involvement with a tiny bit of racial profiling (although when the policeman mentions "you people" to Nick, it ends up being "you people in the Witness Protection program. Mostly.), and I also liked the bit of romance. Definitely a must for high schools, and good for middle schools if you can take the high body count, because the language is mercifully okay. Probably should buy two copies to keep up with demand.
Weaknesses: High body count, some bloody descriptions. I'm no longer a good judge of this since they all make me rather queasy. Also, rather small print, which may turn off middle school students.