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Zach's Lie Paperback – April 28, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Zach's Lie Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Zach Granger has to tell many lies; for one, his name is really Jack Osborne, and for another his parents aren't divorced rather, his father, a pilot, is in prison for transporting drugs for a ruthless cartel. When his father agrees to cooperate with the DEA, his family goes into a witness protection program, with new names and a new home in Elko, Nev. Will they be safe from the cartel? Smith (Thunder Cave; Jaguar) paints a realistic picture of Zach's complicated emotions: he misses his father and his old life, he's nervous about making a mistake and he is uncomfortable lying, especially to his new girlfriend, Catalin. He also takes to his new surroundings, especially Catalin's grandfather's sheep camp in the mountains, and the friendly hotel that's home to Sam, the warm and wise custodian of Zach's school. Smith keeps the tensions high: readers will suspect right away that the detailed journals Zach keeps are going to lead to trouble, and will understand the hero's anxiety when lines from it begin to appear on his classroom's chalkboard. Drug lord Alonzo Aznar is a stereotypical bad guy (he has a ponytail, dresses all in black and "likes getting his hands dirty from time to time") and Sam's confession that he is a former KGB spy feels too convenient. But these are small caveats; readers are sure to be caught up in Zach's suspenseful adventure. Ages 10-14.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-9-In this contemporary suspense novel, Jack's father, a pilot, has been arrested for drug trafficking. When the cartel thugs come to their house to terrorize the teen, his mother, and his sister, they become candidates for the Witness Security Program and must change their identities. Although the family is told not to bring anything to Nevada that would link them to their former lives, Jack, now Zach, cannot leave his diary behind. With the villains searching for them, there can be no slipups, but the young protagonist soon learns that, in the small town of Elko, "Everyone knows Everything about Everybody." The diary and Zach's vulnerability are well-developed devices, but the plot soon becomes compromised by some unbelievable twists and turns. Zach is befriended by the school custodian, Sam, who acts as the principal's assistant, handling disciplinary cases with counseling and boxing therapy. Sam introduces Zach to the Basque people, sheep tenders in the hills outside town, who conveniently provide a hiding place for Zach when the bad guys arrive. In the biggest stretch of all, Sam outwits the thugs with talents he acquired as a KGB agent. Other details and characters merely set up the chain of events, which is unfortunate because individual chapters are often exciting, and there is a great potential to satisfy suspense fans.

Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; Reprint edition (April 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786814403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786814404
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

NYT Bestselling author Roland Smith is a former Zoo Curator and Research Biologist. He has published more than twenty novels for young adults. He and his wife, Marie, who is also an author, live on a small farm near Portland, Oregon.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For nine years I taught fourth grade and used literature circles for a portion of my reading program. Two years ago, when Scholastic offered this book as a literature circle set, I ordered one. My nine and ten year old students needed a little help understanding the flashback that takes place, but overall they just LOVED the book. This year I moved to seventh grade and decided to use it as a whole group read to start the year. While it is an easy read for 12 - 14 year olds, it was a book with which I could easily create a reading unit that would teach both my reading/writing frameworks and character education, and one that intrigued my students. Roland Smith does an excellent job at creating a plot that keeps children interested and wanting to read more. They are begging to read the sequel, "Jack's Run." I recommend this book for any upper elementary/middle school teacher to use to draw students in and hopefully gain an appreciation and love of reading. Thank you Roland Smith for such a GREAT READ!!!
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A Kid's Review on June 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
Zach?s Lie was written by Roland Smith. It is a book about a family named the Osbornes. One night some men broke into their house. They tied them up and said that if they went to the police about this, than they would all be killed. The men were drug lords and were looking for Mr. Osborne. Mr. Osborne is a pilot who had secretly been flying drugs around for these men for years. To keep the Osbornes safe, the family is put into a witness protection program. Their names are changed to the Grangers and they are moved to Elko, Nevada. Zach Granger, whose name was changed from Jack, is the main character in the book. Out of his sister Wanda (previously Joanne), and his mother, Zach has the hardest time finding friends. He eventually becomes friends with Sam who is the school janitor. The next friend that Zach makes is Darrell. He often goes over to Darrell?s house to play videogames. Finally Zach gets a girlfriend named Catalin. Zach spends a lot of time with her, and goes with her to visit her grandfather in the mountains. Zach does have one enemy that lives in Elko. His name is Peter Short. Throughout the book, Sam helps Zach with any problem he has. He kind of becomes a second father to Zach, while his real dad is in jail. The end of this book is packed with excitement, including a secret that Sam reveals about his past. I enjoyed the book very much. I gave it an overall four stars.
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Format: Paperback
Jack Osborne is a kid who loves to read and write. His father gave him a "Jack in the Box" to keep his journals in before he has to go work in an airplane company only to be arested for smuggling drugs. The only problem is, these jounals hold secrets that if found out, might get him and his family killed.

This book is a great adventure, mystery, and survival story. The wonderful descriptions paint vivid pictures in your mind as the words guide you along the way. I really liked this book.

After the robbery,the Osbornes are relocated to Elko, Nevada and have to be renamed the Grangers. "Zach Granger" is introduced to a new school, makes a few friends(not ro mention his new girlfriend, Catalin), and his life being threatened by the drug company his dad decided to work for so he could make a few quick bucks. The school custodian saves his life, and has to leave again. You will just have to read the rest to find out for yourself who meets them in the end!
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A Kid's Review on October 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
Jack had always thought his family was normal. A father, mother, and older sister; sounds like a pretty normal, ordinary family right?! That's exactly what Jack thought, until his whole world turned upside down. They had very rude intruders, his dad has been put in prison, they are being watched, and worst of all they have to move, and can't have contact with anyone from their past life. When Jack is turned into "Zach", and finds himself in Elko, Nevada, he doesn't know what to think. He wonders if he'll ever get to go home, or change himself back to Jack. Most of all, will he ever get to see his dad again?!?!

This was a very thrilling book. The author hooked me with his suspense and wording that had me on the edge of my seat. This is a book for all ages young and old, girls and boys. Zach's Lie is good for all you mysterious, and suspenseful lovers out there. So go to your nearest library and check it out!!!
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A Kid's Review on June 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Jack Osborne is a 12 year old boy in the 7th grade with an imaginary friend named commander IF (Imaginary Friend). Three men broke into their house in the middle of the night; Agent Pelton said it had something to do with their dad. Agent Pelton said he found their dad down in Texas and said they locked him up down town because he was transferring drugs throughout North and South America. Agent Pelton said his dad worked for a man named Alonzo. Alonzo has warehouses throughout America. Jacks Dad wants to put his family in the Whiteness Security Program. The Osborne's changed their names and hair color. Their new names are the Grangers and they moved to Elko, Nevada. Will Alonzo ever find the Grangers in Elko, Nevada?

I Believe this is a great book and I recommend it for kids and adults that read fluently. I like this book because it keeps you thinking and they travel all around trying to become people that their not and trying to fit in.
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