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  • An African Alphabet
  • Wolf Island

By author: James C. Dekker
Selling Points: Crime, truth, justice
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Oct/01/2008
Lexile Level: HL560L
Fry Reading Level: 3.0
Pages: 112
Fiction Ages 12+
Price:  $9.95
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At first my mother doesn't seem to understand. Why are there cops at our house? Why are they talking about Danny?
"Where is he?" she says. "Is he all right?"
The taller cop looks down at his partner. I have this weird feeling that they tossed a coin before they rang our doorbell—the loser gets to tell the family.

Megan's brother Danny is dead. Killed in an apparent robbery in a bar. It seems like a terrible but simple case of mistaken identity, of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But as the truth comes out, Megan realizes that Danny was "known to police." He was in much deeper than she realized, and the police are not motivated to solve the crime. As Megan watches her family self-destruct, she decides she has to find the truth. But the truth is hard to come by, and there are people who will kill to keep it hidden.
Middler Books and More - May 8, 2009
"Reminds me of an episode of CSI or Law & Order in which people try to solve a crime but also deal with the personal aspects of the situation."
NMRLS Youth Services Book Review - May 8, 2009
"The story moves along and provides enough plot twists to keep the reader engaged. All in all it's a solid, if not exceptional, title from Orca."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books - January 1, 2009
"The book's willingness to forego hackneyed messages is refreshing...a quick but satisfying drama for those aware that darkness is only a step away in even the most comfortable lives."
Resource Links - December 1, 2008
"Scum is full of suspense...[and] would make an excellent addition to intermediate classroom and school library collections." - December 1, 2008
"Dekker paints a painful picture of how death can tear apart those left behind."
Tucson Unified School District - November 1, 2008
"This is the stuff real life is made of and I highly recommend this to young teens who think dealing and taking drugs is the easy way to money."


CCBC Best Books, commended  CA  2010


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Teen fiction for
reluctant readers

Key Features:
Short, high-interest novels
Contemporary stories
Compelling characters
Linear plots
Ideal for Lit Circles
Ideal for Independent Reading

Teaching Resources:
Teachers' Guides
Resource Guide
Accelerated Reader selections
Lexile levels

Paperbacks: $9.95

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