Author: Michael Northrop
Summary: Michael, Mixer, Bones and Tommy are just serving out their time in high school – class, detention, suspension, it’s all the same to them. When Tommy tosses his desk in the middle of math class and gets sent to the principal’s office, his boys don’t think anything of it. They just move through the day to English class with the awful Mr. Haberman, who goes out of his way to call them gentlemen, for the start of the old, long, and probably stupid book Crime and Punishment. Haberman begins his discussion with a weird, pointless activity: Figure out what is hidden in this barrel by hitting it with a stick. Terrific.
Just another tedious day in English 10R. Until Tommy doesn’t answer his cell. Or show up the next day. Or the day after that. Michael and his friends begin to worry, and to wonder: What exactly was in that barrel? This is a gripping story for mature readers about how far you would go to find out the truth. Would you keep searching, even if it pushes you to the extreme, or threatens to reveal truths about your friends you never really wanted to know? In the end, who can decide what is right or what is wrong? Or are ‘crime’ and ‘punishment’ really opposite sides of the same coin?
Who will like this book: Guys who like intense fiction about ordinary (or even bad) teens in tricky situations. Even if books aren’t really your thing, give this one a try.
If you like this, try this: Creature of the Night by Kate Thompson. Response by Paul Volponi. The Chocolate War or other books by Robert Cormier.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian