Five high school buddies go hunting early one morning at River Point. Grant is shot dead, presumably by accident. Because the boys were under the influence of drugs and alcohol and had all handled the rifle that killed Grant, they cannot be sure who actually pulled the trigger. John Michael, Shep, Henry and Logan need a story – and they need to stick to it.
High school senior Kate Marino works at the district attorney’s office as an intern. When the DA assigns the River Point case to her boss, Mr. Stone, she has more than just a professional interest in discovering the truth about Grant’s death. She and Grant had been exchanging text messages for weeks and a friendship seemed to be growing between them. Working closely with the evidence, Kate realizes that there is much more to this “accident” than meets the eye. Determined that justice should prevail, Kate pursues leads that bring her closer to the truth and closer to danger.
Having sworn off young adult novels for a while, I relented when I read the summary of this book. The premise intrigued me. The novel began well, and I was stumped as to which of the boys – if any of them – had killed Grant.
Slowly, however, the tone of the book deteriorated. The book had the potential to teach some important lessons about social media and drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, coarse language, sexual innuendoes and risky behavior started to creep into the plot. Characters post inappropriate photos online and while this may be taken as cautionary, the descriptions are detailed enough to make girls squirm. Realistic? Perhaps. Necessary – probably not.
Even more notable is Kate’s lack of loyalty to her mother. She hides important facts jeopardizing the case and Mrs. Marino’s job. Eventually Kate is fired, but her mother never confronts her about this betrayal. Surely a story can include an under-aged heroine that trusts and respects adult characters.
The final blow came at the conclusion of the book. A certain amount of reality is nearly always suspended in books in which children are the heroes. That said, the manner in which Kate and her best friend revealed the culprit is unbelievable. Loose ends were abruptly and insufficiently wrapped-up, rendering the conclusion anti-climatic.
A former teacher, Jennifer Minicus is currently a full-time wife and mother.