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What Happened to Cass McBride?

What Happened to Cass McBride?

4.0 90
by Gail Giles

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"The setting is claustrophobic, the characters are complex and the story will keep readers on the edge of their seats," KLIATT raved of this vivid, fast-paced psychological thriller in a starred review. 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. Kidnaps


"The setting is claustrophobic, the characters are complex and the story will keep readers on the edge of their seats," KLIATT raved of this vivid, fast-paced psychological thriller in a starred review. 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. Kidnaps Cass. Puts her in a box—underground. He buries her alive. But lying in the deepest dark, Cass finds a weapon: she uses the power of words to keep her nemesis talking—and herself breathing—during the most harrowing 48 hours of her life.

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:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.50(d)
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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What Happened to Cass McBride? 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 90 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Holy Cow! That was, literally, what I said to myself after turning the last page of Gail Giles's newest release, WHAT HAPPENED TO CASS MCBRIDE? Although I've read many of the author's books in the past, I have to say that I think this one, even more than SHATTERING GLASS or PLAYING IN TRAFFIC, is my new favorite.

The plot is pretty straight-forward; is, in fact, told pretty matter-of-factly on the inside cover. Something bad has happened to pretty, popular Cass McBride. Something that involves Kyle Kirby, and his younger brother, David, who just happens to be dead. That much you'll get right away. What you won't get, until you start reading the book, is that this is a psychological thriller that will have you flipping pages like a madman (or woman).

It's actually hard to tell readers about the storyline of this book without giving too much away. Let's just say that David Kirby has committed suicide, Cass feels slightly responsible, and Kyle is sure Cass is to blame. What happens because of those three circumstances is something unexpected, something that, due to the author's vivid writing and imagination, will leave you breathless.

WHAT HAPPENED TO CASS MCBRIDE? is a glimpse into many different points of view. That of Cass McBride herself, who has had a pretty strange upbringing and doesn't even realize it until Kyle Kirby takes matters into his own hands. Then there's Kyle himself, a young man who has had the type of childhood you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. Then there's the police detective, Ben, who has his own story to tell, and ones to listen to. And although we don't really get to hear David Kirby tell his story (he is, after all, quite dead), we learn about a boy who never really even had a chance.

This is a great book for all lovers of a good thriller, although I wouldn't recommend it for very young teens. That said, however, this is the perfect book for a reluctant reader, as the short chapters, fresh dialogue, and snappy writing style keep you moving right along. This is another must-read from author Gail Giles!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cass McBride is a rich snobby girl who gets whatever she wants. Her father is a big money maker and her mom is shy and quiet. Her parents get divorced. Her father gives her anything she wants. At school, David Kirby, a boy who has no self confidence, walks up to Cass and asks her to be his girlfriend. Cass says she has way too many things to do then to hang out with him. In English class she writes a dirty note about hating David. David finds out and commits suicide. Later that day, Cass crawls into bed and about to fall asleep for the night. When she wakes up, she is in another strangle eerie place. She tries to get up from her lying down position, but she can¿t because something hard is on top of her. She wonders where she is at. Cass definitely knows she is not in her bed. She starts to scream and pounding on the floor. She feels around which she thinks is the ground below her. Cass learns from what is surrounding her that she is in a place where only certain people are. Where is she? What will happen to her? The events of the book were so detailed. I also liked how the book flowed from the beginning to the end. I didn¿t like how they kept on switching to another person. I wish it stayed on Cass¿s point of view. I didn¿t like how there was so much language. The author didn¿t develop David¿s mom and dad. This book reminds me of the television shows CSI and NCIS. The book and the shows are adventurous, frightening, and all over the place. The book makes you want to keep reading it and it will.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a book that is very suspenseful, then this is the book for you. I am in 7th grade and I have had to read a horror novel for a class project... as I looked for a book, I wanted a trilling book! It so happened I got 4 books that night, all being boring. The next day I went back and said "I want something really really scary" The teacher went right over to the young adult section and pulled out, What Happened to Cass McBride? Because the project was due soon I took the book and brought the book home and read at least half of it! It is a book that is very thrilling and suspenseful. As I read the book I did notice many swears. So this book is not the best book for kids. But as a middle schooler it was amazing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OH MY GOD! such,such a beatiful book! I was simply breath taken by this story the way that Gail captured the emotions of this book was just amazing! It made me cry for David and I had this stong desire to jump in the book and save him. Cass made me just wanna look in the mirror and realize how vain I can be This book changed me to think about what I say to people and look at the damage you can cause someone by what you say, the emotion I feel for tihs book is so passionate! loved this book I cant even think of a word to describe how happy I am that bought it! what happend to cass mcbride is powerful beatiful and simply breathtaking....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG!!!! This book is breath taking and well written..... i read this book in one day i just couldnt put my nook down! I would read this book a thousand and 1 more times. It deserves an award and a five star rating from every living person who has read it. I think there should be a sequal and i strongly advise you to read this book.the author writes it from 3 different point of veiws Cass.Kyle.ben
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fairly well written psychological thriller. The lines between the " good" and the " bad" guys tend to shift. While Cass is clearly the victim of the crime perpetuated in this story, she is far from a sympathetic character. Even her captor has understandable reasons for his anger, although his actions are inexcusable. During her ordeal Cass changes from a self righteous, spoiled, arrogant teen to one who is forced to truly examine her attitude and behaviour, and most of all, her treatment of others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG! i cant beileve how exciting this book was! It made me feel like i was in an episode of law and order SUV or a Lifetime movie! I loved it!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is definitely a good read! It goes by very fast and the story has you on the end of your seat. Its an easy read and the story line is absolutely facasinating. The book gives a strong message of how important popularity in high school is and about teens dealing with family problems. This is such a good book and I recommend everyone to read it I promise you wont regret it. Great book, great story, and an easy read. I advise you read it. :)
GerriBerri More than 1 year ago
Cass McBride Cass is a very pretty Jouinor in high school. Always wears the latest clothes, her fashion styles spread like an illness. Her importances in life are to be the best, and prove her self to her divorced parents. Cass has a very good way of over coming things by using her way of words to get into peoples heads and 'fool' them. In this book Cass learns to be careful with what she says to people because she doesn't know where they come from in their home-life.  This book doesn't give much information about how her life went after she was found. but during im pretty sure she changed her ways of thinking of people that she hasn't even met before. Also i believe she changed her path of life, knowing she has everything and some people have nothing. This book had a very strong theme of really knowing who you are and who other people are. this influenced Cass because she had everything and she never realized other people until she was in a box under ground. Although she didn't really tell kyle about what she was feeling after they talked she sure thought about him a lot.  I think this book should go on best sellers because i truly goes into the mind to get you thinking about other people and there lives. how you might have everything and they have nothing. Also it goes into your mind and showing you that you should be really careful about what you say because things spread around and it will beat the heart of someone yo talk rude about. This book is like a lesson book. Be careful what you say or you will be under ground in a box.:)
KrystalD More than 1 year ago
... Until the end. That's why I am giving it 4 stars. It was a great page turner & a quick read, but the end I feel could have been written a little better.
Katie-_ More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to other people. The story is suspenseful. When you are finished with one chapter it makes you want to continue to read the next chapter to find out what happens. The characters in the book are realistic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cass is a dirty snotty slutty -as said in book by her friends and some peers from school- rich girl whose dad doesent really pay atation to wat she really needs -a loving father- but he still gives her anything she wants her mom is a poor most likely drugged lady. casses parrents er divorsed. At school cass gets everything too evean the hottest guys but she brakes up with them to get some one new fasteer than my d male dog brakes wind! One day a verry shy geek goes up to cass anaskes her tbe his girlfriend and she tells him shhaalot going on right than but maby next month. The next period she writes a mean and nasty note about him and leaves it foher friend to get the next period. He got the note foher thinking she left like school notes behind than reads it latethat nite he commits suiside with the note pinned to his skin with a tack his big bro gruggs her that night wen she was just getting to fall asleep after he dugged her he kidnaped her and put her in a body box and burried her alive!!! U will have to read it to figure it out how to get out of that box before all her oxygen runs
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not too bad for a short quick read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was an amazing book, i couldnt put it down it was great, but very short and not worth the six dollars that i paid for it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book for my English III class and finished it a couple days after getting it, I couldn't put it down! It had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery/thriller.
hayMR More than 1 year ago
the book is a very intresting but confusing story that goes from one person to another. you must be able to remember what each character has said before to keep up to pase. i will rate this book for kids older then 14 just because it is a high constent and thriller. timber creek high school
Eisenhower More than 1 year ago
This is a good book. This is definitely a book for the thriller fans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
emtjj66 More than 1 year ago
a great suspense novel, you will love all of the surprises, i know i did. i could not wait until the next page to find out what happened. anyone teen and adult will enjoy this book. i am so glad i got it. you will not be disappointed, if you are write me and let me know why.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thrilling story. Couldn't put it down!