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Author: Valerie O Patterson

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Publisher: Clarion Books,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Just as they have every summer, Cyan and her mother have come to Curacao for vacation. Just one year ago, Cyan's father died in an unexplained boating accident here. This year, Cyan has no dad, but lots of questions, a strained relationship with her mother, and Kammi, her soon-to-be stepsister. To top it off, Mayur Bindas, her neighbor and nemesis, insists he has information about her father's death. He'll tell her what it is ... for a price. Could things get any worse? This is a young girl's story about family, loss, and change.

Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader

Recommended Age: read together: 12 and up; read yourself: 13 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Reading Level: 4.1

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: What a fabulous book! It is a natural as a summer read, but it was just as delightful in chilly March/April. This is Cyan's story to tell, and she keeps her thoughts to herself (and the reader). They are always just below the surface and her emotions, which come through in the dialogue, are on the edge.

Pros: Real characters, family dynamics, and a bit of mystery create a captivating story for teens and adults alike.

Cons: There are issues, like having an alcoholic parent or teen sexual attempts, the author alludes to but doesn't push beyond subtle references. If the mere mention alcohol or premarital sex are offensive to you, then you will want to preview this book before your child reads it.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is one that you will want to read and share with your teen, or vice versa.


Educational Themes: This is a story with lots to explore, particularly for pre-teens. There is plenty to relate to family dynamics (second marriage, strained parental relations, loss of a parent, alcoholism), growing up, and choices (particularly lying).

Notes: The author donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Nominated for the 2010 Agatha mystery award in the teen/children's category

Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, family, coming of age, death and loss

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2010

Other Reviews:


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