Author: Allen Zadoff
Genre: Young Adult
Review: I picked this book up based on a synopsis I saw on another site. The premise of the story is a 16-year old boy who shows up at your school as a new kid, becomes your friend, and then suddenly someone close to you dies of seemingly natural causes. The boy's parents allegedly move towns and the boy disappears never to be seen again. Of course in this case, the boy is a trained agent, whose mission was to kill.
Really, I only have myself to blame in being disappointed in this book. I think I came with expectations that were a bit too high for a plot like the above. What it turned out to be is a teen high school drama with just enough mention of sex to be interesting to teens and just enough story to keep reading.
The main character's secret protocol procedures just kept me rolling my eyes a whole lot. And he endlessly belabored the point that he's a soldier for whom mission is everything and he will get it done and so on and so forth. For a trained operative who can read people and gain trust so well, he certainly isn't very perceptive about himself and his deductions leave a lot to be desired. That's probably the crux of the problem for me -- I liked the antagonist better. At least she was pretty smart.
The plot was reasonable for a YA story, it had a bit of a twist, even though I saw it coming. Overall, I imagine I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more as a teenager without the critical lens on the believe-ability of the character's actions and motivations. I also didn't connect well with the whole betrayal, mother, father scenario, but Zadoff gets points for adding that layer into the book, it was actually not badly done.
Basically, I would recommend this to actual teenagers. I don't think this works well as a YA for adult enjoyment. This reminded me quite a bit of Francine Pascal's series Fearless. So if you liked this book, you might want to check that out as well.