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John Clark <[log in to unmask]>
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John Clark <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 10 May 2022 14:36:11 -0400
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The Best Liars in Riverview / Lin Thompson 9780316276726

Let me say upfront that this is an excellent choice for any library, public
or school, where fiction that addresses the toxicity of bullying and/or
gender issues is important. This book covers both while wrapping an
intriguing story around them. Many will figure out what both Aubrey and
Joel are hiding/afraid to tell each other early on, but that hardly
matters. They've been best friends for years, but now that they're at the
end of sixth grade, things are changing and neither feels like they have
any control.
  Aubrey was too intimidated to speak out when another boy continually
bullied Joel, with the words and actions getting more hostile and vile as
the year progressed. The school administration resorted to mild verbal hand
slaps and platitudes, leading both kids feeling like they're not safe.
  One way they deal with the hostile school environment is by skipping
school and roaming through the woods behind it, playing imaginary games and
crafting a running away plan. Aubrey doesn't think either of them will ever
implement it until the night they have an argument during their first camp
out of the summer. The next morning, Joel is gone.
  While Aubrey thinks she knows where Joel went, her own secret and what
they said to each other that night freezes her, making her unable to tell
her parents, Joel's mom, or the local law enforcement officers what she
thinks Joel has done. It's that combination of guilt and worry that causes
her to coerce her older sister and Mari, the only friend she shares with
Joel, to search for clues supporting her suspicion. That leads the trio on
quite an adventure. Anyone liking issue oriented fiction mixed with
adventure and the gradual revelation of secrets, will devour this one.

John R. Clark
Author, cataloger, book reviewer