The book’s Nantucket setting offers an atmospheric oceanside backdrop to Woodward Academy, and Grinnell skilly weaves it into the story with exciting scenes on the water and subtle, but meaningful, nautical references that symbolize Monty’s growth. Monty’s deep desire to be an ethical person often makes his actions somewhat predictable, but nevertheless, Grinnell tests his character in surprising ways. Similarly, some secondary characters are simple archetypes–most of Monty’s classmates are defined only by their vices, and the story’s antagonist has the feel of a supervillain– but others, like his teacher Dr. Reid, face tough choices and learn from their mistakes.
Monty’s father is also a complex and evolving creation, and his relationship with Monty reflects both characters’ difficult personal journeys. It also prompts readers to ponder larger questions even beyond nature versus nurture: What does it mean to be a good person? How should we deal with the faults in ourselves and others? Should we stop loving people if they do bad things? Grinnell widens the lens on these topics by including references to related books and psychological experiments. This story’s action-packed plot will keep readers guessing, and the energy it infuses into the deep questions at its core will keep them thinking.
Takeaway: Students of psychology, philosophy and ethics will appreciate the depth of this exciting thriller
Great for fans of: A.G. Riddle’s The Atlantis Gene, Allison Larkin’s The People We Keep, Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A