The Book Reviews – Website

January 1, 2011

The Rag and Bone Shop

Filed under: T — thebookreviews @ 4:46 am
Tags: , , , , ,

The Rag and Bone Shop

Author: Robert Cormier

Page Length: 154   

Reading Level: 7

Genre: Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: In Part 1, Detective Trent of Vermont, has just been successful in obtaining two confessions for two separate murder cases.  However, he has lost his wife in a fatal car accident and must return home alone.  Since his wife died, he has experienced bouts of loneliness and depression.

As Part 2 begins, Jason Dorrant is enjoying the luxury of sleeping late on the first day of summer.  He decides to go over to Brad’s house for a swim or maybe just to help Brad’s younger sister, Alicia put a jigsaw puzzle together.  He actually likes Alicia better than Brad and has helped her with puzzles before, although she is the master at assembling the puzzles.

Tragedy hits as Jason learns the following day that Alicia was found not only dead, but murdered and left in the woods.  Jason is believed to be the last one to see Alicia alive and is questioned by the police about what he remembers.  Under pressure from a U. S. senator, whose granddaughter knew Alicia, Lieutenant Braxton seeks the services of Trent from Vermont to help solve the case.  With no substantial evidence, Jason appears to be the prime suspect.

As Trent sets up his interrogation, he reviews the scenario and deposition Jason has already submitted.  It doesn’t seem likely that Jason is the killer, but Trent is a specialist at getting confessions and he feels confident as he enters the small room which has been set up to make Jason feel intimidated by his size, position and voice.  Jason believes he is being interviewed only for additional help to the police’s investigation.   As the interrogation proceeds, Jason begins to feel inadequate in his answers, then threatened by Trent’s questions.  Both Trent and Jason believe they know the truth, but as both feel pressure, neither seems to know what the real truth is.

REVIEW: This is a fast-paced suspenseful book which creates tension within the reader from the first pages of the book.  As the plot develops, the reader will try to determine the outcome.  The characters of both Jason and Trent are well-developed and the chemistry and tension between them in their interview is realistic.

At the end of the book, a reader’s guide is included as well as an interview with the author.  

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Characters, Conflict, Theme, Conclusions, Predictions and Outcomes, Voice, Mood, Tone

RELATED BOOKS: Frenchtown Summer, Heroes


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner


August 23, 2008

Among the Betrayed

Filed under: A — thebookreviews @ 11:37 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Among the Betrayed

Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix      

Page Length: 156

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Fiction        

PLOT SUMMARY: Nina Idi wakes up in a jail cell and realizes she has been caught by the Population Police.  The “hating man” interrogates her as to her dealings, which may involve protecting other “third family children.”

Nina lives in a country where couples are allowed to have two children.  Nina, like many others, was the third of her family to be born.  She lived in hiding with her grandmother and aunties until she was sent to Harlow School for Girls.

At Harlow, she met Jason, who attended the neighboring boy’s school. She fell in love with Jason, and told him that she was a third child.  She doesn’t realize that Jason has also been arrested.  While in jail, Nina is placed in a cell with three younger children, also, third children.  The hating man tries to get Nina to betray the children and get information for him.  As the story evolves, Nina chooses not to betray the children, and they find a way to escape the jail. 

Nina and company make their way to the Boy’s school where she believes she can get help from Lee, one of the boy’s she knew through Jason.

REVIEW: This is the third book in Margaret Haddix’s Shadow Children sequence.  I have not read the previous two books, but was able to get interested in the story line immediately. 

The story is a captivating mystery that I didn’t solve until the very end of the book.  It is interesting in that the plot centers around a subject that in America we don’t consider an issue that could be a reality. 

Students who enjoy mystery would like this book.

AREAS FOR TEACHING:  Sequence, Characters, Compare/Contrast, Cause and Effect, Conclusions, Generalizations, and Predictions

RELATED BOOKS: Among the Hidden, Among the Imposters, Among the Barons

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: “The Village” (2004)


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

Create a free website or blog at