Pelly’s friend Tara is gone. When they were ten, she disappeared from the mall. An innocent game of hide and seek has turned into a six year nightmare for Pelly. She barely functions from day to day. Having a stranger stare at her is enough trigger a panic attack. She never goes out at night and started smoking to help calm her nerves.
Working at the coffee shop has been a huge step in her recovery. If only she can keep her co-workers from discovering her issues (not made an easier since she stopped taking her meds and going to therapy). David, the co-worker who is nicest to her, saw her having an attack, so keeping her secret has not really worked out.
One afternoon, an older man with a teen girl comes into the coffee shop. Pelly knows the girl is Tara. The girl mouths ‘help me’ as they rush out the door. Not satisfied with the police response, Pelly decides to hunt down the man herself and free her best friend.
Pelly would do almost anything to find her best friend, but she cannot manage it alone so she risks bringing David along on her dangerous and suspenseful quest. It is worth the read to see if Pelly can save Tara and herself.
Will Shea attends the exclusive Connaughton Academy. He grew up on a tiny island in the Pacific. His parents were missionaries and died tragically. Sad story really – except none of it is true. Will is from New Jersey and is the son of a con-man. True to his upbringing, Will is pulling a con on Connaughton, successfully getting a scholarship to one of the most exclusive private schools in the country.
This con has no angle. Will wants to go legit and make something of himself. That hope quickly fades when another student Andrea discovers his secret and challenges him to a con-off. The first to fleece a load of money from the king of the campus, Brandt Rush, gets to stay and finish school.
Ah, Brandt. He’s obnoxious and arrogant. Half the buildings on campus are named after his family. He throws crazy huge gambling parties and gets away with everything. Brandt is just asking to be taken.
And so it begins, Will versus Andrea. Who’s conning who? Will brings in his uncle for help with his first big con, but did not intend for his alcoholic dad to get involved. With such a huge payoff that his dad is depending on, the stakes are even higher.
The story has twists and turns that keep everyone guessing. The story does borrow a few things from the movie The Sting, but it is still fun and suspenseful.
Atticus is short with curly hair, not really thin and wears glasses. He’s not athletic enough for his father or the baseball coach (yes, he is suffering through a season of baseball even though he has no talent for the game). He is being bullied by the coach’s son, Danny (who cleverly calls him Fatticus). Atticus is starting to think he is the reason his father left.
Atticus copes by playing out fantasies in his head (like the one where poet Robert Frost helps him with a class presentation and tells Danny off, too). He also dreams of his classmate Audrey, the most beautiful girl he has ever seen.
What really seems to be his saving grace is the new substitute English teacher, Mr. Looney. And he lives up to his name right away. On his first day of class, Mr. Looney doesn’t say a word to any of the students. He just stares at them. Atticus feels like Mr. Looney can really see him – maybe he’s the first person who has ever seen the real Atticus.
Atticus gets bullied more by Danny. His (once non-existent) friendship with Audrey gets stronger. And Mr. Looney’s ‘antics’ get the attention of the school board. Through it all, we pull for Atticus. We want him to see what we know to be true (and what his mom and Mr. Looney see): that Atticus is a good guy.
Review: Ketchup Clouds is a book about love and loss.Its written through letter format, because the main character, “Zoe” is writing letters to a prison pen pal named Stuart Harris. The story hits home through emotional roller coasters, relatable scenarios and the story of love and loss.
It begins with two strangers, Nick and Allie, who die in a car wreck. They end up in Everlost, which is an alternative reality of the world we live in. They can still see everything that exists in the world, although it’s changed some… and certain things that have passed over into Everlost now seem more real than the real world.
Names are very important to the story, as over time the kids would forget their names and instead their nicknames would stick… and the nicknames usually reflected their appearance (Pinhead, Speedo, Lief, Hershey).
Sometimes people forgot what they looked like and their appearance would begin to change. McGill (a villain in the story) has literally become a monster and WANTS to appear that way… he had forgotten what he looked like. It’s only when someone is shown a picture or reminded of how they look (or SHOULD look) that they alter their appearance back.
I love how creative Shusterman is with this first book in his Skinjacker Trilogy. One of my favorite parts of Everlost were the quoted readings from Mary and Allie’s books throughout the story. I also enjoyed and appreciated the variety in the story… pirate ships, the Hindenberg, the Twin Towers, Roswell, New Mexico… all were incorporated into this fast-paced story.