by Walter Sorrells
Publishing Information: New York: Dutton Children's Books, 2005
Ages: 12 & Up
After a lifetime of moving and assuming new identities, sixteen-year-old Chass begins to piece together the haunting past which involves a mysterious tape, a deceased popular singer, and the secrets of a small Alabama town.
Chastity Pureheart doesn't know her real name. What's worse, she and her mother have been on the run assuming new identities in every town since Chass was a baby. Chass doesn't know why they are running, and her mother disappears on the night of Chass's sixteenth birthday. Police find her mother's abandoned car, blood matching her DNA, and a purse containing six ID cards. Chass doesn't believe her mother is dead, but she does believe that she had to run again. Chass has six days to learn who she really is in order to save her mother and escape foster care -- that is, if she isn't murdered first.
|Subject Headings & Major Themes:
Missing Persons Investigation
Mother and Daughter
Awards & Reviews:
YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, 2006-2007
"Sorrells, Edgar Award winning author of legal thrillers for adults, brings his expertise to a compelling suspense story for teens ... Sorrells masterfully sustains suspense throughout, spiking the drama with some truly frightening scenes that make this a terrific read. In the end, Chastity, hunted and confused as she is, still emerges as determined, feisty-and triumphant." --Booklist (starred review), June 1, 2005, p.146
"....Sorrells weaves an entertaining tale with a sympathetic heroine. Several subplots add interest to the story, from Chass's first romantic feelings for the boy who was formerly her best friend to her dreams of a career as a musician. Her unlikely alliance with the bad-girl daughter of the town sheriff is also intriguing. The major revelations at the end may not come as a complete surprise to careful readers, but there are enough minor twists and turns to keep mystery fans guessing until the last satisfying pages."--School Library Journal, June 2005, p. 170
"....overall the resolution is satisfying, with the stage set for a sequel. Reluctant readers and fans of mystery-thrillers will welcome this offering, which is recommended for public library YA collections." -- VOYA
Discussion Questions and Ideas:
- What is a jinx? Explain any feelings or experiences you have had relating to jinxes.
- What would motivate a mother to keep the reasons for the constant moving from her daughter?
- What do you know about stolen identity? How prevalent is it in the U.S. today?
- Does this story work for you? How was the suspense built?
- Were there any surprises in this book for you? Explain.
- What if anything, would you like to change in this story? Why?
- What was Sorrells' technique for capturing your attention and holding it throughout the story?
- How did Sorrels make this story believable?
- Discuss the relationships among the three teenagers: Chass, Ben, and Brittany. Are there any surprises? Explain.
- Who do you think is the most moral of all the characters? Who knows the right way to handle the bizarre situations in this story?
- What other settings could work for this plot?
- What predictions did you make as you read this story? How did it end compared to what you suspected?
- The VOYA review mentions the possibility of a sequel. What plot do you think might be woven into a sequel?
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Investigative Resources International: Missing Persons
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Partnerships Against Violence
Walter Sorrells Homepage
Missing Persons Investigation
Murder in a Pig's Eye by Lynn Hall (1990)
So Yesterday by Scott Westerfield (2004) (2006 RITBA Nominee)
Stonehaven: Milk Cartons & Dog Biscuits by Kevin Tinsley (2004)
This Ice by Marsh Qualey (1997)
The Three Detectives and the Missing Superstar by Brett Simon (1986)
Identity and Murder
Disappeared by Lynn Mason (2003)
Free Fall by Christa Roberts (2004)
Love Me Always by Laurie John (1998)
Minerva Clark Gets a Clue by Karen Karbo (2005)
The Third Degree by Norah McClintock (2005)
Mother and Daughter Suspense
Escape from Memory by Margaret Peterson Haddix (2003)
Gaia Abducted by Francine Pascal (2003)
Other Books by the Author:
Power of Attorney (1994)
Will to Murder (1996)
Cry for Justice (1996)
Club Dread (2005)
About the Author:
A devoted martial artist, Sorrells holds a 3rd degree black belt in Japanese Shito-Ryu karate and has also studied Aikido, Tai Chi, various Okinawan Kobudo (weapons) systems, and the Japanese sword arts of Iaido and Shinkendo. He lives in Atlanta with his wife Patti and son Jake.
Edgar Award-winner Walter Sorrells is the author of a dozen novels. Sorrells is a past president of the Atlanta chapter of the crime-writers' organization, Sisters In Crime, and a former member of the board of directors of the Mystery Writers of America. Sorrells's work in both journalism and fiction has been published in a variety of national publications. He has written scripts for a number National Public Radio programs, including the award-winning docu-drama "The Three Governors." He is a 1985 graduate of Haverford College where he majored in history.