Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

Fiewel and Friends, 2017

 Gwendolyn Bloom isn't enjoying school today.  Being pointed out by "that girl" and her friends while everyone else laughs at you isn't what she planned or wanted.  But this is just another stop along the string of schools she has attended, which may or may not last long.  It's on days like this she wishes her mother was there, but she can't be.  When Gwendolyn was ten years old, her mother passed away. The memories she has of that day, filled with terror and confusion, won't stop.

Her father, who is a foreign diplomat, has taken Gwendolyn around the world.  New York is the current place they call home.  Without a mother, her father is the only parent she has and she treasures that.  But one evening, after coming home, her father isn't there....nor the next night...and Gwendolyn keeps waiting. Eventually she is taken in by the older Jewish couple in loco parentis until her father shows up. And things take a turn....

One day, while Gwendolyn is alone in her apartment, a knock is heard.  Behind it are men in black searching for her father, but also through his papers and computers, asking her what he's told her about his job.  They're from the US government and for the first time, Gwendolyn is realizes what her father does.  The men looking for him are wondering is he still a spy for them or has he defected? The last known place in Europe he was detected was recorded before he went off the grid.

With only a scrap of information Gwendolyn stops at nothing to find her father.  With some help, she begins training in krav maga with a Mossad agent before getting entangled in the dark and dirty world of racketeers, arms smuggling and human trafficking.  One clue leads to another. Gwendolyn knows she's running out of time...unless it's already too late.

This book goes from zero to 100+ quickly.  The reader's emotions for the main character jumps for empathy to encouragement to excitement as they see her morph and change into someone who will pull out all the stops.  The dark world of criminals makes a large nod in this novel including introducing minor characters, all victims of human trafficking.  It's not sugar coated, but it isn't gratuitously graphic is nature either.  Teens reading this book may begin to connect with what's happening in the real world and see a larger picture.  Although others may see the rising action as a tad unbelievable, I enjoyed every page.  It reads like a Jason Bourne novel, only with a kick a** female character.  Recommended for upper JH/HS

No comments: