LIE

Caroline Bock, With
Caroline Bock. St. Martin's Griffin, $9.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-312-66832-7
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4299-8441-6
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Bock's (Confessions of a Carb Queen) first YA novel is a smart, topical story about a racially motivated hate crime, its far-ranging consequences, and the community determined to keep it under wraps. Skylar Thompson, a sensitive and complex loner, is deeply reliant on her boyfriend, Jimmy Seeger, a cocky, clean-cut jock. Shortly before their high school graduation, Jimmy and his best friend Sean are arrested for the vicious beating of Arturo Cortez, a young El Salvadoran mason, who subsequently dies of his injuries. Charismatic but cruel, Jimmy has been leading a gang that goes "beaner-hopping" on Saturday nights, assaulting Latinos for sick thrills. Skylar, who witnessed Jimmy's unprovoked attack on Arturo, suffers a crisis of conscience over whether to cover for her boyfriend; the lies Skylar and others are pressured to tell cut through the town like the Long Island Expressway the title plays on. Avoiding preachiness, Bock handles the novel's multiple viewpoints exceptionally well, rotating among the painfully believable voices of high school students and adults. Her characters may keep the truth inside, but their story reads like a confessional. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
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