Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Conspiracy 365: January by Gabrielle Lord
On New Year's Eve, Australian teenager Cal is chased down the street by a staggering, sick man with a deadly warning that the recent death of Cal's father wasn't a strange illness, but murder. "They killed him. They will kill you too." He tells Cal that he must try to survive the next 365 days. Soon enough, strange events—a boating accident that appears to be sabotage, a break-in, and a mysterious call from a nurse who cared for Cal's dad—raise his suspicions even more. When he investigates a package his uncle Rafe has hidden away, he quickly gets drawn into a conspiracy involving his family, mysterious drawings, and violent kidnappers, and finds himself on the run from the police. Hurled into a life as a fugitive, the 15-year-old is isolated and alone. Hunted by the law and ruthless criminals, Cal must somehow uncover the truth about his father's mysterious death and a history-changing secret. Who can he turn to, who can he trust, when the whole world seems to want him dead? The clock is ticking. Any second could be his last. Readers should be warned that, true to the nature of the planned series, each book ends very much on a cliffhanger.
January is an excellent start to the series. This quick moving, engaging action-mystery draws in the reader from the first page and keeps up the action and questions right to the last page. I was immediately drawn to Callum and his strong character. Lord has deftly made the family someone the reader cares about and Callum someone to cheer for. Adding to the idea of our hero needing to survive 365 days, the book starts at page 185 and counts down to page 1, just as Callum begins to count down the days he still has to make it through. As part of a 12 book series, this first volume thrusts its audience into the life of the young fugitive and leaves them wanting more. I highly recommend this book for middle school and up. It would be good for reluctant readers because of its quick action and thiller contents, but also because it is not a difficult read. The continuing story would also encourage further reading to see how the story plays out. Since the entire 12 parts are already out, no one will lose interest from having to wait for the next installment.