Desert Dark

Sonja Stone. Holiday House, $17.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8234-3562-3
In this promising series opener from debut author Stone, life at an elite boarding school that is secretly a training ground for Black Ops CIA agents seems like a dream come true for 16-year-old Nadia Riley—until her studies take a backseat to a real mission. Miserable after a spectacular breakup, cryptogram-loving Nadia jumps at the chance to attend the government-funded Desert Mountain Academy; she’s soon off to Arizona, where the school is reeling from the death of Drew Anderson, the girl whose spot Nadia is taking. Desert Mountain is home to a typical mix of students including Nadia’s roommate, Libby, a well-mannered Southern girl with a touch of OCD; Alan, a genius lacking in social graces; and Jack, the team leader who catches Nadia’s eye. As Nadia tries to catch up academically, rumors circulate that Drew’s death wasn’t accidental, and there’s talk of a double agent operating within the school, with new recruit Nadia as the prime suspect. A mix of all-too-real war games, teenage love conundrums, and a tenacious heroine makes this an engaging first outing. Ages 12–up. Agent: Logan Garrison, Gernert Company. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/11/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 344 pages - 978-0-8234-3766-5
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