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French, Michael, 1944-
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Publication Information:
New York, NY : Bantam books, [1990]

At his mother's death, seventeen-year-old Garrett is invited to live with his father in Los Angeles, where a lifestyle that at first seems simply mysterious turns into a nightmare.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.8 7.0 5960.

Reading Counts RC High School 6.5 9 Quiz: 10795 Guided reading level: NR.
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FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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At his mother's death, seventeen-year-old Garrett is invited to live with his father in Los Angeles, where a lifestyle that at first seems simply mysterious turns into a nightmare.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7-12. Credibility is stretched to the limit in French's latest novel, but his story is intriguing all the same. A summons to live in L.A. with his estranged father comes just in time for Garrett, whose mother's sudden death has left him virtually adrift as he approaches his senior year in high school. Though nervous about confronting his dad, Garrett's anxiety evaporates when he meets Clarence and finds him to be an energetic idealist with strong opinions. It isn't until later that Garrett discovers his father is also a spy for North Korea, and that his loyalty to what he calls a good cause is really based on nothing more than selfish interest--an interest that doesn't include his only son. Cliches in both plot and dialogue abound: "You figured I'd cave in . . . but I'm not your puppet." Yet French turns over a taut scene or two, and with YA suspense books in short supply, that's probably more than enough to fill somebody's bill. ~--Stephanie Zvirin

Publisher's Weekly Review

Espionage and treason highlight French's ( Us Against Them ; Circle of Revenge ) newest YA novel. Garrett, 17, is bereft after his mother's recent death in a car accident. Eager to escape the confines of his small Arkansas town, he accepts an unexpected invitation to live in L.A. with his divorced father, whom he hasn't seen in 10 years. Clarence is an aerospace engineer, but Garrett is unaware of his dad's lucrative sideline--selling top-secret information on military aircraft to North Korea. Through lies and emotional blackmail, Clarence gradually lures his son into his activities. The teenager forgoes schoolwork and friends in a desperate attempt to capture his father's love, but eventually he reaches a decision that puts an end to it all. The thriller's textbook-like sections on high-tech photography may appeal to students of the subject, and the few intriguing elements do much to support the remaining material. But readers may be put off by French's slow pacing and his protagonist's passivity. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8-12-- After the sudden death of his divorced mother, Garrett, 16, goes to live with his father, Clarence, an engineer working with highly classified government defense projects. Clarence's regimented lifestyle, his substantial income, his intense left-wing political beliefs and, most of all, his sudden and mysterious disappearances puzzle Garrett as the boy settles into his new life. But that life is shattered when he succumbs to his father's manipulation and becomes enmeshed in Clarence's strange doings--as a spy for the North Korean government. Garrett's gullibility, Clarence's bizarre politics (created by the author, seemingly, to show how ideologically bankrupt traitors are), and his attempts to manipulate his son are not believable. Neither is the contrived plot nor the wooden dialogue. For all the espionage and adventure implied, the story fails to build excitement or sustain interest. --Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.