From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up–Cassie Streng, 16, knows that her psychiatrist stepfather, Rick, prescribed an experimental drug for his teenage patients, three of whom have committed suicide. Before she can gather evidence, however, she is grabbed by two men, handcuffed, locked in the back of a van, and taken to Peaceful Cove, a facility for troubled teens in Mexico. Rick has assured her mother that the place is an excellent boarding school–he maintains that he found crystal meth in Cassie's room–but she soon discovers the truth. She is trapped in a brutal prison camp, and she must make her way back to Oregon and convince someone of the danger Rick represents before anyone else dies. While the premise is a bit over the top, Cassie is a strong and sympathetic character who relies on her wits and determination from the very first page. Short chapters that show how she uncovers her stepfather's actions alternate with the story of her journey from Portland to Mexico, a nicely executed technique that keeps the plot moving and readers engaged. While the secondary characters are a little flat and the ending is a bit too neat, Henry packs her first YA novel with the quick action and suspense that will keep even reluctant readers turning the pages.–Beth Gallego, Los Angeles Public Library, North Hollywood
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Gr. 8-11. The wicked stepmother motif is altered to wicked stepfather in this contemporary chiller. Cassie, 16, has suffered a year of upheavals: her parents' divorce, her mother's remarriage^B and new pregnancy, and the discovery that her stepfather's psychiatric practice revolves around an experimental drug that may have led to the suicides of several of his teen patients. Leading off is a horrific scene of Cassie's abduction, masterminded by her stepfather, who planted crystal meth in her room and arranged for her to be taken to a juvenile "rehabilitation" center. Organization is a strong point here. In the first part, Henry effectively shuttles between Cassie's imprisonment and the discoveries that lead to it. In the second part, Cassie must free herself and obtain evidence to save other teens from the deadly drug--all but impossible tasks in the Dickensian atmosphere of the teen facility. Along with solid plotting and suspense comes a likable heroine who's a good match for the nefarious adults in her life. Connie FletcherCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved