Monday, July 20, 2009

Reality Check by Peter Abrahams

Title: Reality Check
Author: Peter Abrahams
Pages: 336
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 28, 2009


Passing grades in all his classes. Dating the hottest--and smartest--girl at school. Summer job paying more than minimum wage. Things in Cody's world seem to be going pretty well. Until, that is, his girlfriend, Clea, is sent off to boarding school across the country, and a torn ACL ends his high school football career. But bad things come in threes--or in Cody's case, sixes and twelves--and the worst is yet to come. While limping through town one day, Cody sees a newspaper heading: "Local Girl Missing". Clea, now his ex, had disappeared from her boarding school in Vermont, and the only clue is a letter she sent to Cody the morning of her disappearance. With that as his guide, Cody sets out to find out what happened. Once in Vermont, he unearths the town's secrets--and finds out that football isn't the only thing he's good at.

I picked up Reality Check because of the blurb. I found it to be extremely appealing--especially for those who love mystery and suspense.

From the moment I read the first chapter, I was certain that Abrahams was no stranger to action and suspense. He was able to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. I finished the book in less than two hours. The way it was written, and the way it was executed, was absorbing and eloquent. I was hooked.

Reality Check is not a book for those who like a happy and energetic read. Reality Check is a dark book; full of dilemma and mystery. Abrahams did a great job in character development--Cody especially. He was a compelling and relatable character. His problems were realistic. Abrahams wasn't afraid to show how the other (less-than-middle class) half of the world, lives. Additionally, a lot of the decisions that were made by the characters, and situations that they found themselves in, were controversial. Abrahams took a risk in doing this, and he obviously succeeded.

In the book, I felt like nobody was to be trusted. Abrahams did a great job in making sure that my assumptions were wrong. I had a few suspicions here and there, but they ended up to be way off the real thing. This is one of the few books that was able to keep me on my toes...seriously.

Although Reality Check did have a lot of strong traits, it still had its weak points.

For instance, I was roughly around page two-hundred when I realized that the characters were kind of stalling. The mystery wasn't close to being solved and I was worried because there were only about a hundred pages left in the book. In the last sixty or so pages, I felt as though Abrahams rushed through solving the mystery. I felt as if all of those pages built up to a weak climax. I wasn't satisfied at all.

The ending of Reality Check was flaccid. It kept me hanging but there wasn't enough that happened AFTER the mystery was solved. My thirst for an amazing ending was not appeased. But that's just me.

The Bottom Line: Reality Check is worth reading and worth remembering. I really admired the strongly-developed characters and the originality of the plot. It made up for the not-so-great ending. Overall, I liked it. I'll remember this one. Reality Check earned a B+. :-)

---Report Card---
Originality: 9.5/10
Ending: 6/10
Characters: 9/10
Plot: 8/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 7.5/10
Theme: 9/10
Imagery: 10/10
Setting: 3/5
Voice: 4/5
Style: 4/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 9/10
Total Score: 84/100 (B+)


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