I really enjoyed this YA mystery/thriller set in an all-boys high school, Urban Promise Prep School, in Washington D.C. Principal Moore is an activist that started the school and based his strict program discipline, called the Principal Moore Method, claiming it turns boys into men. Principal Moore claims that almost all boys in his school go from trouble youth to college-bound men because of his method and school. But when Moore is murdered at school, his school and method come under strict scrutiny. Three boys serving detention that afternoon are targeted by the police as prime suspects. All three state that they are innocent, and it’s clear they need to band together to find the real killer before they are arrested and lost in the system.
The book is told from the perspective of the three boys, as well as some of their family and friends. It also includes snippets of witness interviews, news articles and social media posts. I like these additions in a book and find it provides interest and a unique way to share information. The book is fast paced and immediately grabbed my attention. The chapters are short and it’s a quick and easy read that I read in one day. Each boy was well developed and had their own problems and obstacles to overcome to achieve their goals, and I felt their storylines were relatable and would be of interest to young readers. I mean, who can’t relate to suffering from other people’s bigotry, having a dream that seems insurmountable to attain, and striving to improve your life and the life of your family.
The side characters, including grandmothers, uncles, parents, girlfriends and teammates added depth to the story and helped the reader understand the three boys’ lives better. Again, these characters were well developed despite being minor characters in the book. The mystery was the weakest link and I figured it out rather quickly, but still enjoyed reading how it all wrapped up. Overall, this is a very enjoyable contemporary book that I recommend.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. All opinions are my own.
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