From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—For Pete, the summer after high school graduation is quiet and a bit lonely since his friends have drifted apart. When "the old gang" decides to meet one last time, Pete, Raymond, Nicole, Eric, and Pauly get together for a night of reminiscing and hanging out at a carnival. But their differences are now too big to overcome and the friendly gathering falls apart after too much drinking, drugs, and sexual tension. They make their way individually to the carnival, where the night ends badly. A former school friend, now a famous celebrity, goes missing, as does Raymond. Could these incidents be related? Could someone Pete thought of as a friend be a criminal? Pete gets drawn into the investigation, which puts his policeman father in a difficult position, and tries to do right by both the authorities and his friends—which are at odds with one another. All of the action happens in less than a week, yet the pace seems slow at times. This may be because of the ultrarealistic dialogue: "What?" "Are you sure?" "Yeah…I guess…." Still, the descriptions of places and events are evocative, the characters realistic, and the suspense gripping. Brooks has created a police procedural as well as a coming-of-age story. The ending leaves a big piece missing from the puzzle and may frustrate some readers.—Geri Diorio, The Ridgefield Library, CT
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It’s supposed to be a last meet-up before everyone scatters. But everything changes on that Saturday night. Pete, the son of a cop, goes to the old hideout at the request of a former girlfriend. When one of the kids spikes the drinks with a hallucinogenic drug, the evening turns into a nightmare, complete with a missing person, a dead body, and a secret relationship disclosed. Pete tries to solve the mystery of who has done what to whom, but uppermost in his mind is locating kind Raymond, his closest pal, who is not quite right in the head—and has disappeared. The story is long; the plotting, at times, convoluted; and the ending, as in Kissing the Rain (2004), leaves a question that deserved to be answered. But Brooks is a fine writer, and he knows how to keep the tension high. One of the best parts of the book is his depiction of Pete’s parents and their relationship with their son. He captures the essence of how parents want to protect and kids want to break away. Grades 9-12. --Ilene Cooper