cover image Wanted!


Caroline B. Cooney. Scholastic, $6.99 (230pp) ISBN 978-0-590-98849-0

Alice Robie can't believe it when her straitlaced, divorced father calls her at his apartment and tells her to grab a certain diskette, hop into his prized Corvette and meet him outside town, as fast as she can--never mind that she doesn't have a driver's license. Before she can leave, however, someone breaks in, searching for the diskette and muttering, ""I killed him good."" Alice outwaits the intruder, then drives off in a panic. Over the radio she hears that her father has been murdered and that she herself has supposedly written a confession. Most readers will happily trade a few key implausibilities for Cooney's (The Face on the Milk Carton) movie-popcorn-enticing blandishments: a charismatic heroine, a smoothly gossipy tone and a nonstop plot. As Alice--""a nice pleasant girl who didn't butt in line, didn't write graffiti on the bathroom stall doors""--adopts ruse after ruse in lightning-fast order to elude the police and the real murderer, the pace and the tension escalate fiercely. That the identity of the villain is obvious and the motivation for the crime strained won't deter readers from their rush to get to the ending. Ages 11-up. (July)