cover image At the Speed of Lies

At the Speed of Lies

Cindy L. Otis. Scholastic Press, $19.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-3388-0676-2

Former CIA officer Otis (True or False) crafts a timely, pulse-pounding mystery that examines issues surrounding conspiracy theories, media literacy, and social media’s prevalence. Canandaigua, N.Y., high school junior Quinn Calvet—who has rheumatoid arthritis and uses a wheelchair—runs a well-known Instagram account called The Whine, where she reports on events within her community, such as track meets and extracurricular proceedings. When fellow student Cade Bird requests that Quinn use The Whine to promote his new club, Defend Kids, she’s initially hesitant, seeing Cade as a bully. She relents, however, when he reveals that Defend Kids was founded to help locate two kidnapped youths. After the club—and The Whine—go viral, Quinn, her classmates, and the rest of the community are swept along on Cade’s hunt, until cracks begin to appear in the missing kids’ mystery. Though the messaging is potent, it is never polemic, and by employing a tense atmosphere and perceptive characters, Otis attentively interrogates social media’s part in spreading misinformation, and how even the smallest lies can escalate to catastrophic outcomes. Most characters are white. Ages 12–up. (June)