What Happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
What Happened to Cass McBride?
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What Happened to Cass McBride?

4.0 90
by Gail Giles

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Kyle Kirby has planned a cruel and unusual revenge on Cass McBride, the most popular girl in school, for the death of his brother David. He digs a hole. Drugs Cass. Kidnaps her. Puts her in a box-underground. He buries her alive. But Kyle makes a fatal error: Cass knows the power of words. She uses fear as her weapon to keep her nemesis talking - and to keep


Kyle Kirby has planned a cruel and unusual revenge on Cass McBride, the most popular girl in school, for the death of his brother David. He digs a hole. Drugs Cass. Kidnaps her. Puts her in a box-underground. He buries her alive. But Kyle makes a fatal error: Cass knows the power of words. She uses fear as her weapon to keep her nemesis talking - and to keep herself breathing during the most harrowing 48 hours of her life.

A vivid, complex, and insightful work of suspense, this fast-paced psychological thriller is "Gail Giles at her best" says Mary E. Pearson, author of A Room on Lorelei Street.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Anita Barnes Lowen
Cass McBride is the most popular girl in school. So why would David, a loser with a capital L, ask Cass to go out with him? "What makes him think he can ask me?" Cass writes to her friend. "How far down the food chain would he have to go for a date?" Kyle is David's older brother who protects him from an abusive mother who rants, screams, and bullies David until he has no hope left. Now Kyle has planned an extraordinarily cruel revenge on Cass McBride for David's death. But is Cass really to blame? Ben Gray is the detective who hopes he can find out what happened to Cass before it is too late. Told by Cass, Kyle, and Ben, this fast-moving thriller will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish and leave you wondering just who is to blame for David's tragic end. With obscenities and violence, this is a book for mature teens.
VOYA - Mary E. Heslin
Kyle's dorky younger brother, David, a high school junior, has hanged himself. Grieving, Kyle pins the blame on David's classmate, Cass. She is Ms. Popularity, barely aware of David's existence, and Kyle chooses to believe that she sent David over the edge when she rebuffed him for a date. Bent on vengeance, Kyle kidnaps Cass, buries her in a box, and rigs up a speaking tube so that he can torture her with words while she dies. But thanks to a driven father who has taught Cass to be a "closer," words are Cass's weapon also. While the police race the clock to find her, Cass lures Kyle into a dialogue that causes them both to see themselves, their families, and David's death from fresh perspectives. But will Kyle's new insights influence him enough to spare Cass? The story unfolds in alternating mini chapters from three points of view: Kyle's, Cass's, and the lead detective's. The structure makes for a choppy beginning, but the grisly subject matter compels, and the need to know Cass's destiny-life or death-will keep readers turning pages. Over and above plot, however, and intertwined with Cass's fate, are complex issues of responsibility and scapegoating that even the most black-and-white thinkers will ponder long after they close the book. Did just one factor cause David's death? Were there others? If so, how should they be weighted and how, if appropriate, should punishment be meted out? To whom? By whom? Often brutal, this outstanding psychological thriller is recommended for older teens.
Through the voices of three key characters, Giles creates a truly suspenseful story of suicide and revenge. Cass is a popular high school student with a smart mouth. Kyle blames Cass for the death of his brother, so he kidnaps her and plans to torture her by burying her alive. But Cass already is tortured by her conscience. What unfolds is the interaction between Kyle and Cass, and the events in both their lives that led up to the kidnapping. Add to their story Ben Gray, the police detective assigned to the case when Cass is reported missing. He meets with Cass's mother and her father and works to find Cass. He also meets with Kyle's mother and father, and his investigation reveals the story of two sets of parents with hopes for their children and unfulfilled aspirations for themselves. Their stories add motivation as well as background to the events taking place between Kyle and Cass. It is not until Cass's best friend is interviewed that the story of Cass and Kyle takes shape for Gray. The setting is claustrophobic, the characters are complex and the story will keep readers on the edge of their seats. The novel culminates in an ending that is both realistic and ambiguous in a Robert Cormier kind of way. This tale of a tense emotional situation includes graphic scenes and adult language. KLIATT Codes: S*--Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students. 2006, Little, Brown, 212p., $16.99.. Ages 15 to 18.
—Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up
Cass is that girl in high school who does whatever it takes to be popular-which means stomping all over everyone else. David is that awkward boy who painfully lurks on the outside of all of the social groups. When he commits suicide, his older brother is out for revenge against the girl whom he believes is responsible for David's death. Giles's characters are frighteningly believable. The story is part mystery, part psychological drama that involves dysfunctional families and abuse, and part crime investigation. It is told by Cass, her captor, and the police investigating her disappearance. Slowly, through these narrations, readers see what caused David's suicide and Kyle's anger and are given insight as to why Cass behaves as she does. This book will disturb readers, frighten them, and make them feel as though they are trapped like the characters. It is a thrilling, one-sitting read that they won't be able to put down.
—Sherry QuinonesCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this harrowing, brutal mystery, college student Kyle Kirby believes a snarky rejection letter written by popular Cass McBride may have driven his younger, love-thirsty nerd of a brother to hang himself. To avenge his death, Kyle drugs Cass, kidnaps her and buries her in a wooden box underneath the ground. He inserts a plastic tube from the surface into the box for oxygen, and maniacally waits for her to talk. All of this happens within the first 20 pages and what unfolds next are the thoughts, fears and memories running through the minds of Kyle and Cass as the terrible evening unfolds. If the plot alone isn't disturbing enough to yank readers up by their bootstraps and catapult them headfirst into the horrors that are about to befall the two, Giles's jagged, terse, just-the-facts narrative only amplifies their claustrophobically dire situation. There is no light shed on the human condition, no touching moments of patient understanding. There are hardly any characters for teens to look up to, and, in true Giles form, nothing ties up neatly. It's just plain chilling, and that's what makes it brilliant. A damn scary read. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.37(w) x 7.37(h) x 0.75(d)
520L (what's this?)
Age Range:
15 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Gail Giles is the acclaimed author of several psychological drama/suspense novels for teens, including Shattering Glass, Dead Girls Don't Write Letters, and Playing in Traffic (Roaring Brook hardcover, Simon Pulse paperback). Shattering Glass was an ALA Best of the Best Book (one of the best 100 books for young readers of the decade), an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, an ALA Quick Pick for Young Readers, a Booklist Top Ten Mystery for Youth, and received starred reviews in Booklist and Kirkus.

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