From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up-When Gus Gonzalez was 12, he was adopted by television star Nick Hernandez, age 26 and single. Now Gus is 14, Nick's cop character is wildly popular, and it seems that everyone in rural Palmdale, CA, and in the media feels free to cast aspersions on Nick and Gus's relationship. This novel is so littered with coincidences and mean and nasty people that it becomes difficult to care about any of the characters. Someone is sending threatening messages written on photos from tabloid newspapers to Nick, who doesn't tell Gus. The teen comes home from school one day to find a knife-wielding intruder. Gus and Nick, along with a couple of teenage boys, are nearly run off the road en route to a casting call in the desert. There, Nick's agent makes rude remarks about Gus right to his face. Then, numerous boys are bloodied and another disappears. Gus jumps aboard a slow-moving freight train to track down the missing boy but he winds up bound and held captive in a motel. Eventually, Nick reveals his motivation for adopting Gus in the first place and it's no more credible than the previous list of misadventures.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
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Gr. 8-11. Fourteen-year-old orphan Gus Gonzales isn't sure why the young, handsome television star Nick Hernandez adopted him. Despite rumors in the tabloids, there's nothing unsavory about their relationship: Nick is a firm but fair father. The mystery and action heat up after someone breaks into their house, followed by the kidnapping of Gus' friend and the death of a high-school bully. In an attempt to rescue his friend, Gus puts his own life in danger, which ultimately exposes the secrets at the heart of his adoption. Readers may wish for a tidier plot; it takes several long paragraphs of explanation by the villain (while he holds a knife to the hero's throat) to tie up loose ends. Yet the snazzy jacket, picturing a handsome yet stern-looking young cop and two sexy young women, evokes the glitzy backdrop perfectly, and readers will want to plunge into the book to see what the blood spatters on the cover are all about. Todd MorningCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved