You've Got Blackmail

Rachel Wright, Author . Putnam $16.99 (194p) ISBN 978-0-399-25094-1

Wright's first novel (she's written several works of children's nonfiction), a U.K. import, reads with an unmistakable accent (“Bloody Nora” is a frequent exclamation). This campy story follows Lauren “Lozzie” Cracknell, who is having a spell of bad luck. Her parents have separated, her father just moved into the same building as Tonya Ravonia (the school bully) and her mother may be dating Mr. Barnett, Lozzie's “unreasonablest” teacher. (“Well, isn't that fab! Dad and Mrs. Ravonia are the best of pals and Mum's practically doing-the-do with Mr. B. I may as well kill myself now and save Tonya the bother.”) In the midst of these crises, Lozzie and her best friend Dex discover a blackmail note to Mr. Barnett. As they try to figure out who would want to blackmail him, the story line becomes more convoluted as Lozzie's room is ransacked, items stolen and revelations about Mr. Barnett surface. The plot is far-fetched and certain subjects (e.g., Lozzie's feelings about her parents' separation) are glossed over, but reluctant readers may still enjoy this fast-paced, easy read. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/30/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
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