Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Adventure
Source: Received a review copy in exchange for my honest review
Cooper, Hiro and Gordy are best friends who like to spend afternoons after school at their favorite handout Frank-N-Stein’s Restaurant. One evening they decided to play one more arcade game while their friend, mentor and owner Frank locks up. What happens next is the beginning of a nightmare. The three friends are trapped in the restaurant and witness the robbery and beating of Frank. When one of the robbers pulls and leaves the video that would incriminate them in the robbery, Cooper takes the opportunity to snatch it and escape. The others get away and Cooper is caught and his house keys taken and he is left with a threat to his family. He and his friends get away. They make a pact to keep what they know silent. They don’t know who they can trust because the robbers were dressed in police uniforms. Unfortunately Cooper’s backpack left at the scene put the cops and the criminals on his trail. His lies upon lies begin to catch up with him. It strains his relationship with his parents, his friends and with his relationship with God. This was one of those books that once you start you can’t put it down. The messages about doing the right thing, friendship, loyalty, honesty, lies and telling the truth can be found all through the book. When I give my book talk about this book I’m going to ask my students up front if they believe it is ever okay to tell a lie and ask for examples. Then I will introduce this book because people need to realize that just because you think it is okay to lie, there are consequences for each lie you tell. This is a book I definitely recommend to my students and all adults who love to read a good mystery.
Genre: Mystery, Adventure
Source: Review Copy in exchange for my honest review
Cooper, Gordy, and Hiro along with Lunk are back for a second adventure in Tim Shoemaker’s second book Back Before Dark. The four teens are on their way home from a shopping trip when they spot a van with a backpack on top. They promised they would be home before dark. They weigh their options and decide they have time to play the role of Good Samaritan and still make it home on time. Gordy takes off ahead of the group. As he approaches the van the worse thing possible happens. The side door opens and Gordy is grabbed. His friends race to catch up. Cooper gets the license plate number but gets it all mixed up. Days go by. Cooper can’t imagine being without his best friend and cousin Gordy. He goes to school and sees a sign for a memorial to be held for Gordy. This is really more than Cooper can stand and he decides if the police aren’t going to do anything then he will. Their new friend Lunk supports Cooper in everything he does putting himself and his friends in danger. This book is all about friendship and how far we will go for our friends. There is also an underlying message of turning problems that are too big for you to handle over to God. Cooper is like so many of us that tries to handle it first and then when all else fails turns it over to God. Lunk is one of those who doesn’t understand why God would allow this to happen to good people. Then we have the strong one of the bunch Hiro. She is the one who constantly prays for her friends and the situations they get into. She is the voice of reason in the darkness. I can only home Tim Shoemaker keeps pumping these books out because I will keep putting them on my shelves at school and recommending them to everyone I can.