Wanted!by Caroline B. Cooney
In a tense voice, Alice's very rational father suggests that she drive his precious Corvette and meet him. But Alice doesn't have a driver's license. "It doesn't matter!" he yells. Yet he never shows up. Never calls. Something is very wrong.
Then Alice hears an announcement over the radio. Her father is dead. And someone
It all started with a phone call.
In a tense voice, Alice's very rational father suggests that she drive his precious Corvette and meet him. But Alice doesn't have a driver's license. "It doesn't matter!" he yells. Yet he never shows up. Never calls. Something is very wrong.
Then Alice hears an announcement over the radio. Her father is dead. And someone has already confessed to his murder via E-mail.
That someone is Alice.
Everyone, including her mother, believes that Alice is guilty. The police are after her. And the real murderer is, too.
It's only a matter of time before somebody catches her...
Read an Excerpt
By Caroline B. Cooney
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1997 Caroline B. Cooney
All rights reserved.
"IT'S DADDY, ALICE."
"Hi, Dad." Alice was a little surprised to hear his voice. He was at work in the city and rarely phoned during the day. Her eyes drifted over the Caller ID display. That was odd. It was a local number. She didn't recognize it.
"Are you home alone, Alice?"
"Yes." Of course she was home alone. She had just started spending time living with her father; she didn't know anybody on the west side of the city.
"I need you, Alice."
She was struck by his voice. It was sharp and hot.
"Get the computer disk labeled TWIN out of my top left drawer. There's a backup in the fireproof box in my closet. Get them both. Fast. Now. Then take my car and drive to—to—the place where you love to get milk shakes. I'll meet you there."
Alice was doing her nails. She stared at the three wet, finished nails and the two dry, unpainted ones on her right hand. "Dad," she said, "I don't have a license."
"It doesn't matter. Get the disks! Take the car and go! Now!"
She could hardly recognize his voice. She could not imagine what he meant when he said it didn't matter that she had no driver's license. She was putting together an argument, or at least a question, but he hung up. Even the hanging up was weird. There was a sort of violence to it, with extra breathing, as if other people were involved.
The condo was very silent.
Usually she had the radio on, but somehow in the excitement of doing her nails, she had forgotten it. Alice was a nail-biter. With great effort and self-control, she'd grown enough nail to have fake nails glued on. She wasn't used to fingernails at all, let alone long elegant nails. They kept hitting things and getting snagged on things and looking like somebody else's hand entirely. This was her first time applying polish by herself. She was right-handed and doing her left hand was fun. But it was difficult to get the polish neatly on her right hand.
Her hand felt silly, half polished, slightly smeared, hanging uselessly in the air.
Kind of like Dad's phone call.
He and Mom did share one thing: They were bears on driving technique. She had never driven without one of them. They sat on the passenger side shouting instructions, because she was always doing too much or too little of something, going too slow, getting too close, not going fast enough.
It did not look as if Alice were going to have a flair for driving.
And now her father said it didn't matter—take the car—drive away without a license.
Her father had two cars: the big Blazer, loaded with every car toy, which he drove into the city so he would be comfortable and air-conditioned and his CDs would play in a stack and he could use his car phone during the commute.
His other car was a bright red classic Corvette, the one he had dreamed of when he was a teenager.
She could not believe he was letting her touch it.
His own friends were not allowed to touch it.
Weekends, her father not only washed the car by hand, lovingly, but he dusted the interior and used Q-Tips to get the edges. It was one of the reasons for the divorce: Mom said he loved the car more than he loved her.
The whole phone call was weird.
She went to her father's office. It was the size of a closet: built-in desktop with home computer, fax, phone, and so forth. The condo was not large and everything was built-in. Alice loved it, the neatness and sharp angles of everything. Such a contrast to her mother's house, with its stuffed animals and heart stencils and lace. Alice's mother even had a mouse pad with cross-stitch patterns printed on it. It was fun to go back and forth: to live in plain gray and white at one place, and then in a riot of colors and textures in the other. Even her parents were like that: the plain father, the textured mother.
She could not put this phone call into the pattern.
The disk, TWIN, was in the little plastic storage box in the drawer where Dad had said it would be. Its repeat was in the fireproof safe behind her father's shoes. She was embarrassed to be rooting around in her father's things. His neatly polished shoes and the hanging cuffs of his suit pants seemed too private to be near.
She held the disks awkwardly. She should carry them in something. But what?
The condo was on one floor. She went into the kitchen, an incredibly neat little space, with more built-ins than you could believe, but very little counter. This was okay, because Dad didn't cook. He heated things, like pork chops, and he microwaved things, like baked potatoes, but he didn't combine ingredients and stir.
She found a Ziploc sandwich bag and dropped the disks in.
She was wearing blue jeans with the knees torn out. This was done in part because both parents hated these jeans. We earn plenty of money! they would snap. Could you please dress like a person with a home instead of a person who scouts out doorways in which to sleep?
These were not clothes in which to drive a Corvette.
Alice took the disks to her room.
Her room was also small, the bed pressed up against a wall, which made it difficult to tuck in the sheets. It had just started to be okay with Mom for Alice to stay with Dad sometimes. It had just started for Mom and Dad to speak civilly to each other and not be gritting their teeth to do it. Just this month, Mom was willing to concede that Dad could have slightly different rules and standards.
Not very different. Different by a molecule.
It was hard to imagine Mom agreeing that Alice, who didn't have a license yet, could hop into the Corvette and drive across town in the midst of noontime traffic.
What had that little pause been? As if Dad had to monitor his speech? He hadn't named her destination. Said: the place where you like to get milk shakes.
It was out of town and up the river, a shack of a place, but they used local milk and cream and ice cream and made the richest, most wonderful milk shakes. Alice and Dad loved that little excursion. Salmon River Road was very curvy, and in the Vette, Alice would hang onto her seat belt and giggle like a three-year-old as Dad whiplashed the car. "You aren't allowed to drive like this," he would tell her. Alice would laugh. "Just you wait. I'm going to be a seriously dangerous driver in another week or two."
Alice didn't know how to think in miles yet. She wasn't sure how far it was to Salmon River. She wasn't sure how much time it took to get there, either. You didn't think about that when you were the passenger.
What she did think was, if she dented the Corvette Dad would kill her.
Driving the Corvette was scary. It was so long and low that your whole view of the road was different, and it had so much power. If she hit mailboxes just trying to get out of the condominium complex, she would die of embarrassment right there.
Mom's car, the one Alice usually practiced on, was a dull old Nissan Sentra: a cheap-o car for driving into the city because who cared if the radio got ripped out? One more dent would not be noticeable among all the dings and scars of city parking.
But the Vette?
One ding on the Corvette, and Alice would be the one with the scar.
She yanked off her jeans and let them lie on the floor, ripped off her T-shirt, which fell half on top of the jeans, kicked off her old sneakers, which banged into the wall and fell back onto the carpet. It was a beautiful spring day out. Alice chose a rather long, thin, cotton dress with short sleeves and a scoop neck and lots of fabric in the skirt. It was a romantic dress with tiny flowers and a pretend sash.
It wasn't a Corvette driver's outfit either. For a Corvette, Alice thought, she should have suede, and a low flat hat, a scarf, and funky earrings.
Alice considered herself in the mirror. If she kept her right hand hidden, she'd be very attractive. Alice could never decide how old she looked. Sometimes she still looked (and felt) twelve, and other times Alice was sure she could go into a bar and not get carded.
The half-polished hand felt silly. And it was her right hand, the one she used, the one she needed. Back in the kitchen, Alice got another Ziploc bag and put in nail polish and polish remover and some cotton balls so when she parked at the ice cream shack, she could finish her nails.
She reached up for the car keys which were neatly hanging on a little brass hook above the tiny bare counter.
I don't think I should do this, thought Alice. It doesn't sound like Dad. Maybe it wasn't Dad. Maybe it was somebody playing a joke. What phone number was that, anyhow? I didn't recognize it. A local number, though.
Alice half thought of calling her mother for advice. But what if Mom said (and she would) "Absolutely not. I'm calling your father right this minute to demand what he is thinking! You will never stay with that man again!"
Well, that was out. Alice loved seeing more of Dad again. She had missed him terribly during the fight stages of the divorce.
Alice considered money.
She went in stages on purses. Sometimes she rejected them entirely and shoved what she needed in pockets. Sometimes she carried the whole world in an enormous tote: homework, Kleenex, pencils, calculator, books, assorted hairbrushes and lotions. Now she was copying Savoy, an annoying girl who for some reason Alice wanted to be just like. Savoy carried her laptop around. So for the last week, Alice had carried her laptop. The thing with laptops was, you never needed them after all, and they weighed a ton, and then their batteries ran down.
So Alice was in a purseless state.
In her room she studied the purse selection. Low. Most of her purses were at Mom's house. What kind of purse did you use for a half-fingernailed, illegal excursion in a Corvette?
Her only option was a white leather fanny pack, but she could extend the strap and use it as a shoulder bag instead.
Alice had four dollars, some change, a credit card, a PIN number, and a phone charge number. She had never successfully memorized any of these and had to carry the plastic with her.
A condo like this had two exits. There was no back door, because the back wall was shared by another unit. There was a front door in the living room and a garage door off the kitchen. She opened the garage door and there sat the Corvette, gleaming in the dark.
"Daddy," said Alice out loud, "what is going on? Why do you want me to do this? I don't want to do this. What if I wreck the Corvette? You'll kill me, and that'll wreck all my plans."
It did not steady her to hear her own voice.
In fact, she lost her breath and her heart pounded too much. Her hands got flimsy and weak, and her chin quivered.
I'll call him back, she thought. The number's still on the Caller ID display. I'll say—Dad, what is this? Some kind of test?
She stood motionless in the kitchen, and the front door of the condo opened.
Alice sagged with relief.
Dad had come home. Whatever momentary lapse of intelligence he had suffered, her father had realized that, no, Alice could not drive the Corvette, and he would have to drive.
Alice opened her mouth to yell at him, or at least to him, and a strange voice said, "Okay, so where are these disks?"
A man's voice. Strained. Panting for air between syllables.
The door slammed and the inside bolt was shot.
Alice's heart lost its sanity and began whacking around in her chest. The little bit of air she had vanished, and suddenly it took huge scooping noisy muscular effort to fill her lungs.
Who had just come into the condo?
She could hardly hear a thing.
Was she deaf with fear, or did the thick pale carpet muffle the man's steps? Was he standing there, inside the door he'd just locked? Or was he coming toward her? He'd hear her breathe. Or she would scream in fear, and he'd hear that.
"You're a freak for neatness, buddy," said the intruder. He was panting, as if he had run to get here. "It drives everybody crazy. So those disks should be easy to find."
Were there two of them? Who was he talking to?
From near the door came a grunt. Isolated. It did not sound human. There was a strange solid sound. Heavy. Like a couch being tipped over.
What was happening?
Alice forced herself to move silently and carefully down the two cement steps into the garage. She couldn't close the kitchen door. Like the front door, it had a very solid latch that practically clanged when you closed it.
She couldn't drive away. The automatic garage door was noisy. The Corvette was very noisy. Along the top rim of the garage door was a row of tiny windows. Alice looked out.
Whoever was in the house had backed his car into the driveway, tight against the garage door. Blocking her exit.
She saw a plain dark blue minivan, very suburban. Alice's view was restricted to its roof and rear window. Dad knew his cars by year and make, by reputation and repair record, and liked to call out identifications and give his low opinions of all other cars on the road.
The van was angled in such a way that it hid the front door—and whoever came and went—from the neighbors' eyes. Not that there were neighbors looking. Single people lived here, or working couples, and on a Wednesday at noon, nobody was home. If they were home, they weren't looking out the window, because there was nothing to see except the other side of the condo.
"Well, well," said the voice. It smirked. "Caller ID."
She could actually hear the tiny click of erasure on the Caller ID. Then she heard drawers being opened, the distinctive ball bearing sound of really good hardware. Dad's desk.
"Okay, so where are the disks?" The same voice, but angry now. High-pitched and distorted with nerves. She almost recognized it.
He won't find the disks, thought Alice. I have them. So what will he do now? And how did he get in? He must have a key; they didn't break in. The only key he could have is Dad's. How did he get Dad's key?
I'm locked in with him, Alice thought.
Footsteps. They didn't sound like two people. She was sure there was only one intruder. But—was the man talking to himself? Or to somebody else? The neatness freak had to be Dad himself. But if Dad were here, this wouldn't be happening. The man couldn't be talking to Dad.
"Clothes on the floor," said the voice. "The kid." The voice went very soft, and very threatening. The harsh whisper carried in the stillness of the condo. "You still here, kid?"
Alice turned to stone. The heart that had beat too loudly stopped beating altogether. The lungs that had sucked in air like a vacuum cleaner shut down.
What was going on?
What should she do?
There was no place to hide in the garage. The voice was correct; Dad was very neat. There was a place for everything and everything was always in its place. It was another reason for the divorce; her parents hated the way the other one kept house.
Alice had spent a great deal of time informing them that this was very shallow: A man could not leave his marriage because his wife lined the tub with twenty-seven shampoo choices, and a woman could not leave her marriage because the man said if she bought one more stuffed bunny, he was going to have a bonfire.
It turned out that Alice was wrong and people could leave their marriage over that.
If it had been Mom's garage, the football team could have hidden among the junk. Here at Dad's, Alice didn't think you could hide a jelly bean. And there was no regular door out of the garage—only the noisy automatic garage door. She could get in the Corvette, but he would see her.
Alice looked at her lovely dress and wished she had not changed her clothes. She tightened the dress around her and rolled beneath the Corvette. Inched, actually. There was not room to roll.
The Corvette was very low to the ground. But her father was too neat to permit a car to drip oil, so the cement was clean. The Corvette was very long, so lengthwise there was plenty of room.
He'd seen her clothing on the floor, but all teenagers threw their clothes on the floor all the time. It didn't mean it had happened five minutes ago.
She tugged at the skirt to make sure no flowery fabric showed. Would he come with flashlights—kneel down—tuck his neck around and look under the Corvette?
Who knew what people who broke into houses to steal disks would do?
She closed her fingers tightly around the fanny pack that held the nail polish and the two TWIN disks. What was on those disks?
It must be very important to somebody.
Certainly very important to her father.
What did TWIN stand for? There were no twins in the family. Was it a company name? A client's logo?
Excerpted from Wanted! by Caroline B. Cooney. Copyright © 1997 Caroline B. Cooney. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
CAROLINE B. COONEY has written more than 75 novels for young adults. Her books have sold more than fifteen million copies and have been printed in many languages. She lived in Connecticut for many years, but has recently moved to South Carolina. Please visit her online at www.carolinebcooneybooks.com.
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No this book is great but my nook wont let me read it anymore
One of the best books I have EVER read. Great plot line and quite the page turner. It will keep you at the edge of your seat! Definitly a must read for all grades!!! 100000 STARS!!!
This book is agreat cliff hanger if you like to stop at chapters
I think this is an exellent book i read it in 6th-7thgrade about ten years ago and still remember what it is about i would say you wont understand it until at least 6-7grade in my opinion. Yours truley- Mia k.
Have u ever read wanted ? There is a 12 yar old girl named alice robie her parents are divorced and she lives with her dad. She got a call that she swear that was here dad but didnt reconized the number or voise. On the phone it said take here dads correvett and drive to the ice cream shack she likes. She drove to there and waited for her dad becase thats whi she thought was on the phone. She waited and wated but nobody came. Before she left she thought her dad had come home but no she could almost reconize the voise though. She thought the man in her hoyse was creepy so she hid under the car under the car in the garage. There was a big slam down like a couch in the air droppin to the floor. Her father was killed but the guy who did that sent a email to her mom pretending to be alice saying that she killed her own father. Her mother belvied so did all uve friends and mher mothers.
i read this book over and over again. this is one of those books that catches your eye, and you can't put down. i think Caroline really made this story to where anyone could imagine themselves in it, and that made it a better book. i enjoy reading mystery books, espepcially ones like this, where something new happens around every corner. i had a hard time putting the book down. i would recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery's and would enjoy a good read. although, this story has cliff hangers, i never left off at one, i kept going. it didn't take me long to read it, because i never stopped reading. this is a very suspenssful book, about a girl who finds out her dad has been murdered. a man, called her pretending to be her dad telling her what to do and what to take when she left. turns out, her dad had something that the man had wanted for years. Not to mention, the murderer actually tells police that the daughter, Alice, killed her own father. buy the book now, to find out what happens to Alice while she is trying to out race her dad's murderer.
Wanted! Caroline Cooney Young Alice could not believe how much her world had changed. She started the day at her divorced father’s house. She was doing the normal teenage thing of painting her nails. But with a phone call her world changed dramatically. She is alone, with no one she knows to turn to, and she is wanted by the police. This book is a thrilling story, with many twists and turns, and an unexpected ending. Cooney has created another master piece.
Its a very good book i love it its my fav book ever i literly was glued to the book it was great read it today
On the run Riley S 2/20/13 Wanted by Caroline B. Cooney Wanted is a very good, suspenseful book .It’s about a young girl who loses her father and is on a search for his killer. The entire time I was reading it I was about to jump off of my seat. I would suggest this book to anyone who likes mystery stories or murder stories. Caroline B. Cooney has a way of making the book suspenseful as the main character runs away from her father’s death throughout the book. She really hooks the reader with her realistic plot throughout the book. She also has some other similar stories that creepily hook the reader’s attention throughout the book like “The Stranger”, “Thirteen” and “The vampires promise”. She is a very well-known author. This book was published by scholastic INC and can be bought for $7.99 at Barnes and Noble. The main character of the book is a sophomore in high school named Alice. One day, she was painting her nails and her dad called and told her to get the secret “twin” file out of his desk and drive his beloved Corvette to her favorite ice-cream parlor to meet him .Then an intruder broke into the house and Alice hid and over heard him saying “I killed him good”(180). She then left and went to the ice-cream parlor and ate some ice-cream, but he never showed. She called her mom and her mom said she received an email Alice hadn’t really sent saying she killed her dad by accident when she really didn’t. She drove the corvette to the mall then hitchhiked to an elementary school then hitchhiked to a college and did some research on the “twin file” and she realized what he was killed over. She kept running from all her family, friends, and cops. Then she finds out who took her father away from her. You would never guess. This is a very fast paced book; a lot can happen over two pages. For example on pages (11-13) someone broke into her house and killed her dad. The setting changed a million times throughout the book. There are also many side characters throughout the book like police men and college students she met. Even her dad’s old friend was mentioned. Some of the symbols in the book were that during the whole book Alice knew her father’s killer and had always disliked him .Another Symbol in this book is that Her father told her to drive his beloved corvette to the ice-cream parlor and no one but him had ever driven it he was very protective of it. Alice doesn’t even have her permit yet he let her drive it with no hesitation. This is an excellent murder story. I would definitely suggest it to anyone who likes mystery stories. My favorite thing about this book is how the author keeps you on your toes with the suspenseful things that happen in the book. In the end when she found out who the killer was gave me chill bumps. I loved the suspenseful ending of the book. Overall it was a great book.
January 9, 2013 Searching Cory Capell Wanted Caroline B. Cooney Teenagers and young people tend to turn to high conflict books because they hook the reader and keep it interesting. Books with high conflict challenge your imagination throughout the book. In Wanted a very suspenseful, high conflict murder story. Caroline B. Cooney shows how murder can become a huge influence and challenge on a teenager’s life. At age 65 Cooney has written over 90 suspense, mystery, and romance novels for young people and teenagers. In this book Cooney shows her skill by the way she wrote this very suspenseful mystery. Cooney really draws you into the book within the first few pages. The challenges that the book brings to the main character Alice won’t let you put the book down. The main character of the book is Alice. She is a young teenager without her license. Her world gets turned upside down with a panicked call from her father. She can tell something is wrong with her father, and feels almost like someone is listing to their conversation. Alice’s father tells her to grab two disks named “Twin” out of his desk and drive to her favorite ice cream place out in the country. Then the call was over. Alice was shocked because she didn’t even have her license and why would her dad be so panicked, was he in trouble? Throughout the book Alice faces several challenges. Never in her life has she been in a situation like this. Later in the book she is accused of murdering her father. She was flabbergasted and terrified, “Alice had to wait until her heart had stopped jumping around before she could move, because sitting still was too scary” (79). Alice was on the run. She was wanted by the police and she was driving without a license. To top it off she was in a bright red corvette so everyone noticed the car and she couldn’t drive well so she couldn’t go undetected. In the book she is faced with many mental and physical challenges. Often she would break down and cry. Alice didn’t have a good place to sleep and not a lot to eat. So this young girl had it tough. Will she make it? If you want to know you should read this book. I’m not the reading type but I would recommend it to all my friends. This book was very interesting and I don’t even like to read but at times I didn’t even want to put this suspenseful book down.
This book is one of the most interesting books of children time i am going to tell you why!! i say this because after reading book i felt so smart learning different words and to find out how cruel people are. this book also teach me a lesson if anyone is hiring you to do anything illegal turn them down; this book will teach you ways murderess try to get close to you, your family, and friends. it also tells you how they disguise and that you need to trust your friends. PICK THIS BOOK UP TODAY YOU WONT REGRET IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This book was very good! I finished it the first day I got it. It will keep you asking what she will do next. This is a great book. I recommend this book to everyone.
I haven't finished yet, but, it's really good so far.
This was one of the bast books i ever read! It really gets you jumping inside!