Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah

320p. ebook available. Bloomsbury. Feb. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781619634985.
Gr 8 Up—In the small town of River City, four high school students embark on a night they'll never forget. Sam Cherie, the outcast who has scars on her scalp in the shape of worms, coasts through life wanting to be invisible. She is an architect of her own anonymity—hiding under hats and keeping her head down. All Sam needs is to keep her drug-addicted mother sober long enough to break away from River City and start a new life. After a party gets busted by the police, she gets into an SUV with three other teens and a world of trouble. Andi is a rebel and kleptomaniac. Boston, a geeky, skinny kid with freckles, and his roughneck brother, York, are on the run, driving around town in a stolen cop car—believed to have already run over a cop and left the scene of a crime. However, for once in her life, Sam feels alive. The protagonists realize that they are running away from something bigger than the police, and Sam confronts her demons head on. Lange drives the narrative forward with a sense of suspense and excitement; the teens' fear of the police chase will feel tangible to young adult readers. The work explores whether being accepted by peers outweighs the dangerous decisions that can come of trying to build friendships. Fans of Jacqueline Woodson's Hush (Putnam, 2002) might find this tale compelling.
VERDICT A general purchase for libraries looking to enhance their action/adventure offerings.

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