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June 2, 2008

The Trap

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The Trap

Author: Joan Lowry Nixon

Page Length: 165

Reading Level: 5

Genre: Fiction, Mystery

PLOT SUMMARY: Julie’s summer is off to a bad start. She wants desperately to spend her summer with her best friend and competing on the swim team. The family has elected Julie to spend the summer with her aunt and uncle on a ranch in Texas. Julie isn’t given a choice and prepares herself for a summer of misery; however, Julie soon discovers that she has landed into the middle of a mystery.

Uncle Gabe and Aunt Glenda have their retirement home on a large ranch where several other investment retirement homes are located. Items have been disappearing for people’s home, and Uncle Gabe is in the hospital with a broken leg. Men are suddenly dying while their wives are away from the house; Uncle Gabe is sure that someone caused his accident. As Julie begins her own investigation, she comes dangerously close to the truth. Can she solve the crime before anyone else mysteriously dies or will the killer get the best of them all?

REVIEW: This book had a well developed plot line and good pacing throughout. The reader’s mind is constantly considering the possibilities of who committed the crimes and what their motivation might be. The book addresses issues of familial relationships and even introduces characters who struggle with their own acceptance and self-esteem issues stemming from family and socio-economic circumstances. Julie is a strong character who perseveres and won’t be frightened away by threats. This story has a modern appeal and is easily related to teenage motivations and emotions.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: character motivation, plot, sequencing, cause and effect, making predictions, setting, theme

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: dealing with murder (presented mildly)

RELATED BOOKS: A Deadly Game of Magic, Search for the Shadowman, Secret Silent Screams, Alex Rider books

RELATED MOVIES:  Nancy Drew, Alex Rider


REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor

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