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Children's LiteratureMany teens have conflicts with their stepparents, but Cassie's problems with her mother's new husband, Rick, take a decidedly violent twist when she is thrown into the back of a van. Although Rick has convinced Cassie's mother that the 15-year-old needs a stint at a Mexican boot camp for at-risk youth to straighten her out, Cassie knows why he wants her out of the picture. Rick, a psychiatrist, has been treating his patients with an experimental drug called Socom. Several of his teen patients have suffered delusions that led to their deaths while taking the medicine, but Rick would rather hide that information. After all, he stands to make a fortune once the drug hits the market, as long as no one makes that connection. And no one will, once Cassie's away. Peaceful Cove is, for all intents and purposes, a sort of pseudo-prison for problem kids. Because it is entirely unregulated, the staff makes its own harsh rules. For the most part, the kids just try to survive. But Cassie knows she has to do more than survive. After all, if she does not get out and spread the word about Socom, more teens might die. April Henry's suspenseful novel is fraught with tension from page one. 2006, GP Putnam's Sons/Penguin, Ages 13 to 18.
—Heidi Hauser Green