Reality Check

Reality Check

by Peter Abrahams


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Reality Check by Peter Abrahams

Will Cody save clea before it's too late? QB of the varsity football team. Passing grades in all his classes. Dating the hottest—and smartest—girl at school. Summer job paying more than minimum wage. Things in Cody's world seem to be going pretty well. Until, that is, his girlfriend, Clea, is sent off to boarding school across the country, and a torn ACL ends his high school football career. But bad things come in threes—or in Cody's case, sixes and twelves—and the worst is yet to come. While limping through town one day, Cody sees a newspaper headline: "Local Girl Missing." Clea, now his ex, has disappeared from her boarding school in Vermont, and the only clue is a letter she sent to Cody the morning of her disappearance. With that as his guide, Cody sets out to find out what happened. Once in Vermont, he unearths the town's secrets—and finds out that football isn't the only thing he's good at.

This is another edge-of-your-seat suspense novel by the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-nominated author of Down the Rabbit Hole.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061227684
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/27/2010
Pages: 346
Sales rank: 299,937
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 13 Years

About the Author

Peter Abrahams is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-five books, including the Edgar Award-winning Reality Check, Bullet Point, and the Echo Falls series for middle graders. Writing as Spencer Quinn, he is also the author of the Chet and Bernie series—Dog on It, Thereby Hangs a Tail, and To Fetch a Thief. He and his wife live in Massachusetts with their dog, Audrey.

Read an Excerpt

Reality Check

Chapter One

Except for football Fridays, Cody Laredo's favorite day of the school year was always the last. Now, May 30, final day of his sophomore year at County High, he sat in the back row of homeroom, waiting for the teacher—a sub he'd never seen before—to hand out the report cards. As long as there were no Fs—even one would make him ineligible for football in the fall, meaning summer school, an impossibility because he had to work—Cody didn't care what was in the report card. He just wanted out.

"One more thing," the sub was saying. "The principal sent this announcement." The sub unfolded a sheet of paper, stuck a pair of glasses on the tip of his nose. "'County High wishes everyone a safe summer. Please remember . . ." And then came blah blah blah about alcohol and drugs, tuned out by some mechanism in Cody's brain, overloaded from having heard the same thing too many times. The sub thumbed through the report cards, called out names in alphabetical order, mispronouncing several. Cody was the only L. A minute or two later he was outside, crossing the student parking lot, warm sun shining down and the sky big and blue. Somewhere close by a horse neighed.

His car—a ten-year-old beater with 137,432 miles on the odometer, an odometer disconnected by the previous owner, one of his dad's drinking buddies—sat at the back of the lot, open prairie behind it and Coach Huff leaning against the fender.

"Hey, coach," said Cody.

"Close shave, son," said Coach Huff.


"Ain't opened your report yet?"

Cody shook his head. The coach alreadyknew his grades? What was with that?

"Waitin' for what, exackly?" said Coach Huff, a tall guy with a huge upper body and stick legs, varsity football coach and also teacher of health and remedial English. "Sign from above?"

Cody slit open the envelope with his fingernail, slid out the report card. U.S. History—C–; Algebra 1—C–; Biology—D; English—D–; Shop—B. D minus: close shave, no doubt about it. He looked up, feeling pretty good.

"Good thing Miz Brennan's a football fan," the coach said.

"She is?" Ms. Brennan was the English teacher, bestower of the D minus. Cody actually liked her, especially when she forgot all about whatever the lesson was and started reciting poetry, right from memory, something she did maybe once every two weeks or so. Somehow Ms. Brennan, an old lady with twisted arthritic fingers and a scratchy voice, had all this poetry in her head. Poetry in the textbook was a complete mystery to Cody, but in a way he couldn't explain, the murkiness all cleared up during Ms. Brennan's recitations, or at least he thought it did. Like: Screw your courage to the sticking-place / And we'll not fail. Cody was pretty sure he got that one, just from how she'd spoken the words, made his mind picture courage fastened deep to something that would never break, like a huge boulder. But he'd never seen Ms. Brennan at a football game.

"Either that," said Coach Huff, "or we're lookin' at a legit D minus. That the story? It's legit?"

Cody didn't know what to say, felt his face turning red.

"Just razzin' you, son. Nothin' wrong with your football IQ, that's for sure. We're all countin' on you in the fall." He pushed away from the car. The shocks squeaked and the whole body rose an inch or two. "Stay in shape this summer."

"I will," Cody said, thinking: Is there something wrong with my other IQ? Does Coach Huff think I'm dumb?

The coach got a squinty look in his eye. "Workin' with your dad?"

"Maybe," Cody said. His dad did landscaping in the summer. Landscaping wasn't bad, and Cody loved being outdoors, but he was hoping to find some other job, almost anything.

"Just remember—landscapin' don't replace liftin', so hit the gym."


"Upper body's important—put some zip on the ball."

"Why, coach? We never throw."

Coach Huff gave Cody a long look, then laughed, a single eruption of sound, close to a bark. "Sense of humor—I like that," he said. "Just remember there's a time and place for everything."

Coach Huff gave Cody a pat on the shoulder, started walking away. He met Clea Weston coming from the other direction, report card in hand, and nodded to her, but she didn't seem to notice. Her eyes were on Cody. The sun lit golden sparkles in her hair, and Cody thought: The whole summer ahead of us! And what did he have at this very moment? A full tank of gas.

"Let's ride out to Black Rocks," he said. Black Rocks was an abandoned quarry near the bend in the river, the best swimming for miles around.

"I got a B in calc," Clea said.

"Wow," said Cody. There were two kids taking calc in the whole school, Clea—a sophomore like Cody—and some brain in the senior class. No one thought of Clea as a brain. She was just good at everything: striker on the varsity soccer team, class president, assistant editor of the lit mag; and the most beautiful girl in the school—in the whole state, in Cody's opinion.

But a real person, as he well knew, capable of annoyance, for example. When Clea got annoyed, her right eyebrow did this little fluttering thing, like now. "Wow?" she said.

"Yeah," he said. He himself wouldn't ever get as far as calc, not close. "Pretty awesome."

She shook her head. "I've never had a B."

For a second or two, Cody didn't quite get her meaning; he'd scored very few Bs himself. Then it hit him. "All As, every time?"

She nodded.

"You never told me."

Reality Check. Copyright © by Peter Abrahams. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Reality Check 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cody is the quarterback of the football team, and he is dating the smartest and most attractive girl in the school, Clea. Football scouts are keeping an eye on him, and although his grades are quite low, he looks forward to one day playing college football. Things aren't great for long, though - Clea's father decides to ship her off to boarding school in Vermont. Cody injures his knee and can no longer play football. His grades are slipping, and Cody decides to just drop out of school and work. One day Cody notices a newspaper article about a missing girl. Clea is missing from her boarding school! Cody embarks on quest to find Clea and is determined to stop at nothing until he finds her. I don’t read a lot of YA mysteries, so I wasn’t sure if I would like this book or not. It turned out to be a fast-paced and engaging read. I liked how the author used letters and poems to give Cody clues as to what happened to Clea. I think it went a little too quickly at the end, though, and it felt a little rushed to me.  Cody was a likable character, and I couldn't help rooting for him. He learned some lessons about trust and love along his journey to find Clea, and I was left wondering what would happen to him after the story was over.  Overall it was an entertaining read, and I can see reluctant readers enjoying it. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honestly, i dont get the hype about this book. The characyers are underdeveloped,nthe plot is all over the place and it never ties together, its way to predctable and the language is juvinile. Overall, bad book. I dont recomend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a really great book. I enjoyed reading and wasn¿t able to put it down. The thrill always keeps you intrested. The writer worked very well with keeping a balance between a sporty book at the begininng and a thriller at the end. I would recommend this book to teens looking for an easy read for a project in an english class.
eheinlen More than 1 year ago
This book was insanely slow. Nothing really happened until almost a 1/3 of the way through the book. In addition, I didn't find any of the characters likeable at all. I wanted to smack Cody upside his head throughout the vast majority of the book and Clea wasn't much better. The only redeeming quality was that the writing was fairly good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great booo. Really good and a great thrill. But a little heavy on the curse words though.
Jose Daniel Manrique More than 1 year ago
Very good book,keeps you on the edge of your seat! A must read book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in one day. I couldn't wait for something good to happen to the main character. I won't ruin the ending by telling you if it happened or not.
jenrocks28 More than 1 year ago
i love the whole style of writting in this book its worth the time to spend to read this book i enjoy reading so iv've read alot of books and this one is good
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Alright. Thats fine. I gtg also. Ttyt. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gtg bbt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Should I trust the good or bad reveiws?