Set in 1951 Brooklyn, Newbery Medalist Avi’s (Crispin: The Cross of Lead) suspenseful novel shows how seventh-grader Pete Collison deals with persecution and paranoia as he searches for answers about his family’s history. It all starts when rumors, initiated by Pete’s teacher, fly about Pete’s father’s affiliation with the Communist Party. Pete stands up for his father, but his classmates turn against him, his best friend’s parents won’t let her speak to Pete, and an FBI agent seems to be watching his every move. Deciding to find out the truth about his father and the informant who turned him in, Pete follows the methods of his favorite gumshoe, Sam Spade, but the clues Pete uncovers are more confusing than enlightening, and the discoveries he makes about certain relatives could hurt his father’s cause. Authentic period details—such as popular radio programs and the ongoing rivalry between the Dodgers and the Giants—add a colorful backdrop to Pete’s quest as he navigates the murky gray area between truth and fiction. An excellent introduction to the frenzy of the McCarthy era. Ages 8–12. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/19/2015 Release date: 03/01/2015 Genre: Children's
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