Fifteen-year-old Ames Ford lives a charmed life in Boulder with her parents and her beloved younger sister, Chrissy. "If Mom weren't a little overcontrolling sometimes--okay, all of the time--our family would've been gag-worthy perfect," she remarks. But Ames's privileged world disintegrates when her father is fired; the family members are ostracized by their wealthy friends; and they are forced to move into a dilapidated apartment in Texas owned by grandparents Ames did not know she had. Lies her parents have told and secrets they have kept bleed out each day, weakening her relationship with them. Then she meets manipulative, thrilling Marc who makes her feel secure despite his violent streak. "Mom and Dad had drained my world of color, but Marc was bringing it back. One little color at a time." Giles (Right Behind You) builds tension as Marc attempts to convince Ames that her parents--and even the world--are against them; readers will wonder if Ames has the strength of character to extricate herself. Ames and the rest of the Ford family's fall from grace makes for breathless, chilling reading. Ages 15–up. (Sept.)
"In this day of investor fraud, mortgage foreclosures, and overnight wealth-to-poverty news stories, this timely, riveting novel will resonate with readers."
"Giles is a gifted writer... Her imagery sparkles, her character development is flawless, and this page-turner positively crackles with excitement... Suspense lovers will savor this fast-paced psychological thriller."VOYA, starred review"
The queen of YA thrillers does it again with another gripping page-turner in which love and danger meet."Kirkus Reviews"
Ames and the rest of the Ford family's fall from grace makes for breathless, chilling reading."Publishers Weekly"
This fast-paced psychological thriller will leave readers disturbed, enthralled, and clamoring for more. Fans... will thoroughly enjoy this chilling account of a good girl gone bad."School Library Journal"
In this day of investor fraud, mortgage foreclosures, and overnight wealth-to-poverty news stories, this timely, riveting novel will resonate with readers."Booklist
Ames Ford's life is rapidly falling apart. Her beloved father has been fired from his high-powered job for "borrowing" money from customers' accounts. Her mother is having trouble coping with the humiliation, leaving fifteen-year-old Ames to care for her younger sister, Chrissy. When the Fords have to sell their beautiful home in Boulder and relocate to a filthy rental house in Texas owned by her father's estranged parents, their relationships with one another begin to fray. Upon their arrival at the new house, Marc, an online acquaintance of Ames's best friend, Em, makes an unexpected appearance and offers to help with the much-needed painting and repairs. Ames feels an immediate attraction to the older Marc, who seems to want to protect her. As she gets to know Marc, and finds out about his gun collection, unpredictable temper, and involvement in drugs, alarm bells begin to go off. But not until he suggests that the two of them kill her family and run away to Mexico does Ames decide to betray Marc and warn her parents about the plan. Giles is a gifted writer of suspense. Her imagery sparkles, her character development is flawless, and this page-turner positively crackles with excitement. Giles's portrayal of Ames's gradual loss of faith in her parents and friends is intensely realistic. Ames's attraction to Marc is completely understandable, given the circumstances, but her levelheadedness and underlying love for her family win out in the end. Suspense lovers will savor this fast-paced psychological thriller. Reviewer: Dotsy Harland
Gr 8–11—Ames Ford, 15, has a picture-perfect, posh lifestyle and a loving family. Her father has always been their rock, providing a steady income and a comforting embrace. But when he's fired for embezzling from his clients during unstable economic times, everything comes crashing down. Suddenly the Ford household is filled with secrecy and arguments. As the family begins to fall apart, Ames finds herself rebelling against her good-girl image. Shoplifting, smoking marijuana, and sneaking out at night are her obvious cries for help, but they fall on deaf ears with her parents. Hurt and alone, Ames makes friends with 22-year-old Marc, who seems to understand her feelings. He is mysterious, confident, and controlling—and he carries a handgun. Suddenly, Ames is caught in a dangerous conflict in which she actually considers Marc's plan to kill her parents. The descriptions of the family's financial privations will translate for most teens, though what Ames will have to live without may seem overplayed to some. This fast-paced psychological thriller will leave readers disturbed, enthralled, and clamoring for more. Fans of the author's What Happened to Cass McBride? (Little, Brown, 2006) will thoroughly enjoy this chilling account of a good girl gone bad.—Stephanie Malosh, Donoghue Elementary School, Chicago, IL
The queen of YA thrillers does it again with another gripping page-turner in which love and danger meet. Always the good girl to her rebellious best friend, Ames leads a privileged life in Boulder, Colo., with private school, designer clothes and no responsibilities. It all slams into a wall when her broker dad is fired for scamming from clients and gambles away the rest of the family savings. Feeling angry and betrayed, the teen starts to unleash the "Wild Thing" inside her. The rumpus intensifies when the family is forced to move into a rental home, last used as a drug flophouse, in Texas, and she meets Marc, a mysterious loner who collects guns and wants to protect Ames from any more pain. The initial excitement of her first boyfriend, and a bad boy no less, gives way to doubt and fear when Marc begins to control her actions and asks her to make the ultimate sacrifice. Stock characters and rushed plot fillers will not deter readers' hearts from thumping from the puzzling beginning to the fast-paced conclusion. (Thriller. YA)