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{October 27, 2013}   {Review} Secrets in the Shadows by Ann Schraff (Bluford #3)

516GSS5DDBLFrom Goodreads: Welcome to Bluford High. This widely acclaimed teen series set in an urban high school features engaging, accessible writing and appealing, contemporary storylines.

Roylin Bailey is living a nightmare–and it’s all his fault. It started when the new student, Korie Archer, arrived in his history class. She was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, and unlike most people at Bluford High, she seemed to like him. But when Roylin tried to impress her, he made a terrible mistake. Now one of his friends is gone, and someone is out to destroy him. Caught in a tightening web of lies and threats, Roylin is desperate for a way out.

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I picked this up because a student asked me if s/he could use it for a project, so I read through it to see what the reading level was prior to giving her the go ahead.  I think this will be an interesting read for a lower MG reader, but it’s a little too low level for a high school project, in my opinion, which is what I ended up relaying to my student.  But, the themes and overall ideas presented in this novella are good ones, so I suggested that if it’s something my student was interested in, that s/he should go ahead and read it just for fun.

Now, in terms of the story itself, I can’t help but think the main character lacks common sense (of course, I’m an adult looking in, so…). Roylin wasn’t my favorite character in the world–he’s rude, obsessive, and greedy.  Likewise, the writing didn’t pull me in, but again, this is for lower MG. My main issue with the dialogue was that it jumped between every day language and proper language which, in my opinion, reduced the overall validity of the story.  Sometimes contractions were used, and other times they were missing, and as a teacher and reviewer, this lack of fluidity irked me to no end.  But again, I don’t think MG readers are necessarily going to be picking up on this as much as the they will on the overall themes and plot, regardless of its holes. So, while it was just a tad too juvenile for me, I believe this novel will spur younger readers on to find out what really happened to the elderly man living next door to Roylin. I, personally, can only give it two stars, though.

2 stars

I borrowed this novel from the school library.

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