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Fake ID Hardcover – January 21, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Nick Pearson's real name is Tony Bordeaux. A high schooler in Witness Protection, this is the fourth new identity and home for Nick in the last few years. It's all because his father keeps falling into his old criminal habits. Despite this, Nick is trying his best to fit into his new life and school in Stepton, Georgia. He befriends his student guide, an eccentric aspiring journalist named Eli Cruz. As Eli attempts to persuade him to join the school paper, the reporter alludes to shady dealings and sinister happenings going on in Stepton, including something called "Whispertown." Unexpectedly, Nick finds Eli dead one morning. The police rule his death a suicide, but Nick and Eli's sister Reya suspect that he may have uncovered something that he shouldn't have. As evidence mounts, the protagonist begins to connect all the disparate events, culminating in deadly consequences. Giles's action-packed debut will have teens on the edge of their seats as they follow Nick's journey to discover the secrets of Whispertown and his attempt to uncover why his friend was killed. Teen readers will especially relate to the likable everyman and African American main character. His burgeoning relationship with Reya, despite being grounded in tragedy, is one of the more charming aspects of the plot. A twist reveal at the novel's climax will shock many and will leave fans of mystery and suspense books extremely satisfied.—Ryan P. Donovan, New York Public Library
Nick Pearson (not his real name) and his family are on their last lifeline. Stepton, an anonymous Southern town, is their final chance to stay out of trouble and avoid being removed from the witness protection program. More specifically, it is the last chance for Nick’s father, whose dodgy dealings continue to risk exposing the family. Nick has changed identity so frequently that he has become adept at “staying low-key.” But in Stepton he befriends high-school journalist Eli Cruz, who is leading a one-man crusade to unearth the truth behind “Whispertown.” But when Eli ends up dead, it throws Nick into an investigation. While each revelation brings him closer to the truth, it also brings him closer to blowing his cover. Nick is a resourceful, intelligent kid who lives within a set of circumstances beyond his control. Decisions about whom he can trust with varying levels of the truth have to be made on the fly as Nick tries to honor his dead friend while ensure his own self-preservation. Conspiracy theorists and thriller fans alike will be guessing right up to the end of this exciting debut. Grades 9-12. --Kara Dean
Top customer reviews
Nick is quickly plunged into drama by his new friend Eli, journalism nerd and conspiracy theorist. He's also very aware of Eli's gorgeous sister Raya, and Raya's ex-boyfriend Zack, a football team meathead.
Many adults avoid YA novels, perhaps due to the settings or to the painful revisiting of adolescence. This is a fine mystery on every level, one of the best I've read in 2015, and was nominated for an Edgar Award in 2015. Most highly recommended.
Great characters, nail-biting story, a great YA thriller.