Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review: Reality Check by Peter Abrahams

Reality Check is another great mystery for teens, and I’m really happy about that. I don’t seem to find many good teen mysteries.

There is a lot of build up to the actual mystery. Cody is a regular football playing high school boy, looking forward to his junior year on the field. His girlfriend, Clea, is from the “other side of the tracks.” Her family is filthy rich, and her father is very demanding.

Clea’s father decides to send her to Hong Kong to be with her uncle for the summer, and then when she returns, she tells Cody that she’s going to a private school in Vermont for the rest of high school. Cody know it’s because her father doesn’t approve, and because he feels like they are too different, he breaks up with Clea before she leaves for school.

Abrahams then spends 40 pages going into Cody’s football career being destroyed because of an injury, and his slowly failing school and eventually dropping out. As a reader, I didn’t understand why this much detail was necessary. It didn’t seem to be integral to the story. Then Cody finds out that Clea is missing. She was riding her horse through the mountain trails, and her horse came back without her. Cody goes to Vermont to help with the search.

The mystery then gets going. All is not what it seems, as Cody finds out when he gets to know some of the kids at Clea’s school and the townspeople in the area. I won’t say any more about what happens, but Cody, of course, plays a big part in the solution. The pacing was good enough to keep my interest, and I didn’t figure out what was going on until Cody did.

This book is the fourth Echo Falls Mystery by Abrahams. I’m not sure why the books are called that. I didn’t see “Echo Falls” mentioned anywhere in this book, unless I missed it. This classic mystery would appeal to both girls and boys who like this type of story. It does take a while to get going, but if you can stick it out, it’s worth the effort.  

I’ve posted about the Illinois’ Abraham Lincoln High School Book Award previously. This book is one of the 2012 nominated titles, and that’s why I read it.

Published by Laura Geringer Books, 2009
Copy obtained from the library
330 pages

Rating: 3/5

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  1. Hmm, that is a bit odd about all those details being in there, when they weren't necessarily crucial to the main plotline. Sounds like a pretty solid book. I agree, there aren't a lot of straight out and out mysteries for YA... most mystery plot lines tend to be wrapped up in either historical or paranormal books.

  2. Even though you give this a 3 out of 5 rating, I too, am glad to know about this book. I haven't read it but I am always casting about in search of good teen mysteries. I know a few people thought he deserved a Printz Honor for this book (is this his most recent) and I meant to read it. Now I will for sure.

  3. Annette, I'm not sure why this is part of the Echo Falls series, unless I'm forgetting about a character named Cody in the first one (Down the Rabbit Hole). I can't remember any of the characters names haha. But it's called the Echo Falls mysteries because there's a landmark called Echo Falls in the town (I can't remember if that's what the town is called too; clearly I paid close attention while reading it).

  4. I don't believe Reality Check is part of the Echo Falls series. The Echo Falls books all take place in the town of Echo Falls, hense the series name.

  5. the title of the book is amazing "Reality check"
    thanks for sharing


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