From School Library Journal
Grade 6-8–When three seventh-grade girls from Oakdale Middle School come forward with an accusation that Mr. Mattero touched them inappropriately, the passionate, veteran music teacher is summarily sent home, and a formal investigation–and lots of informal character assassination–quickly gets underway. Once the media becomes involved, the man becomes persona non grata and is presumed guilty by most. Naturally, he's devastated, and his family suffers too, as the rumors and reproaches escalate. Melody, Mattero's daughter, is particularly affected; she happens to be an eighth-grader at Oakdale. The story is told from her perspective, alternating with chapters written from the point of view of Claire, one of the accusers. Cummings has crafted an engrossing and thought-provoking tale involving sensitive, real-life issues. The first-person dialogue sounds authentic, the pacing is brisk, and the personal situations woven into the plot are apt and age-appropriate. The book provides a great deal of high-interest suspense, and, when the issue of what Mr. Mattero did is finally resolved, readers get an ending that's both satisfying and realistic.–Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI
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Gr. 6-9. Seventh-graders Jenna, Suzanne, and Claire don't anticipate the consequences of their actions when they accuse their music teacher, Mr. Mattero, of sexual abuse. Wanting merely to be moved from his class to a study hall, they show shocking naivete by accusing the teacher, and then surprise after he is forced to leave the school until further notice. Jenna, the ringleader, stands firm, but nervous Suzanne and insecure Claire begin to waver. Meanwhile, Mr. Mattero's family is beginning to fall apart as they wait to hear from the local police whether he will be formally charged. Told from the viewpoints of Claire and Melody, Mr. Mattero's eighth-grade daughter, this solidly written yet ultimately safe story of middle-school politics takes few risks and smacks slightly of "after school special." However, it is an age-appropriate introduction to a difficult topic and serves well as an entree to E. R. Frank's similarly themed but darker and more complex novel Friction
(2003). Jennifer HubertCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved