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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 25 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 34 reviews
on January 19, 2012
I read this because I love mysteries and love Dandi Daley's books. I have to admit I began it thinking it was written for teen-agers and wondered if this grandmother (me) would find it simplistic and maybe boring. NOT! The book kept my interest from the first pages and I changed my mind several times throughout the book about who the murderer was---a definite plus for a mystery! Hopefully this will not be the only mystery we'll see from Dandi.
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on February 20, 2012
Review by Jill Williamson

Coach Johnson is dead, and sixteen-year-old Hope Long is the only person who believes that her eighteen-year-old brother, Jeremy, is innocent. Sure, Jeremy is a little different--he's always been that way--but he's no killer. But there are no other suspects, so Hope sets out to find some and prove that Jeremy didn't kill Coach.

I'm totally impressed! This was a wonderfully creative mystery novel. The writing was excellent, and the characters were even better. I was completely sucked in and didn't see the end coming. I'm so glad I bought this book! This is the first I've read of MacKall's books, but I'm going to keep an eye peeled for whatever she writes in the future. If you like John Grisham, you'd like this book. With the wrongly accused and the search to find the truth, this book was one I couldn't put down. Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon July 10, 2016
This excellent mystery, an Edgar YA winner in 2012, tells the story of Hope Long who is convinced that her brother Jeremy is not guilty of killing baseball coach John Johnson. Since Jeremy is autistic and selectively mute, he can't explain why he was running away from the barn where Johnson was found. That the murder weapon was his own wooden bat doesn't help either.

Hope knows that her brother couldn't have done that but she is alone in her opinion. Her brother's lawyer and her own mother are trying for a Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity defense. Hope decides that she needs to investigate if she wants to clear her brother.

Her companions in the investigation are TJ who is her only friend in town and Chase who is the son of the sheriff and who spends summers with his father. She and the boys try to find other suspects. Could it be the coach's wife who is dying of cancer? Is it another member of the baseball team that Johnson coached?

This story was intensely emotional. I loved Hope's determination to prove her brother innocent. I loved that she knew about all of Jeremy's quirks but still thought he was special and wonderful. I felt bad for her and for Jeremy because of the mother they had. Rita was extremely self-centered and an alcoholic who dragged her kids all over the country before returning to her home town picking up men all along the way to give her "loans."

The writing was excellent and the pacing in this story helped build the tension as Hope comes closer and closer to finding out who really killed John Johnson. I recommend this mystery to all ages.
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on November 18, 2013
It is a little slow moving for my 8th graders, but I really liked the twists! I used it in our Edgar Award Unit this school year, and the students liked where it led, the white truck/phone call, which gave you someone to look for. I especially liked, the song, wish I could hear it, and the Jars, what a great addition to the character trait of Jer.
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on August 18, 2015
It was a very interesting story which I was not very into because I had to read it for my summer reading at school. But around the third chapter I really got pulled into it. But as you can see from the four stars above there were some parts where I got bored. If you are like me and wish to find a book where you get attached to the characters I would read and reread The Outsiders, it is my favorite book slab movie. And I'm only 13. I also am mentioning playing The Walking Dead Video game. You WILL become attached to the characters
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on August 4, 2014
In some ways this is a predictable novel - competition between two boys for the female main character, family means everything to girl with lousy family, teen sets out to find the truth that incompetent adults are unable to.

That said, the story is well told. We suspect Jeremy's condition will change, but the story explores aspects of his personality well into the last half of the book instead of exposition of all the characterization at the beginning. The strong female lead who has male friends who aren't also her saviors is refreshing.

I think people of all ages can enjoy this although young adults will probably engage most readily since it is the world of these teenagers that is being explored.
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on July 23, 2012
I won't say much about the plot, as the synopsis has been given several times, but I just loved this book. I read tons of mysteries, so I especially love one that keeps me guessing till the last page. This novel has even more than that though. It has such realistic characters that you'll really care about and root for. [Too many novels that I read may have good puzzles, but I don't care much about the characters.] It has imagery and a thoughtful deeper theme that I've come to expect from Dandi's novels. This mystery has it all! I'm buying a copy for my granddaughter as well...and I only give her the best books I can find.
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on May 27, 2013
I'm always looking for compelling young adult-level books for my adult ESOL students. This one is a page-turner. We're using it next semester and I'm looking forward to reading it with them!
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on October 13, 2014
Couldn't put it down there is never a good stopping point keeps you on edge all the time. Read it in less than a week is quite an accomplish as slow as I read.
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on May 31, 2015
The end was a plot twist I did not expect it at all. I really loved this book and I hope everyone gets a chance to read it.
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