Bound To Stay Bound

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Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2013 Twelve-year-old Abbey Force is feeling “meaner than a stepped-on-rattlesnake,” and she’s got good reason: last year, her lawyer father had an accident and fell into a coma, and since then he’s been accused of stealing from one of his wealthiest clients, forcing the sale of Abbey’s childhood home, Reward Plantation, and the relocation of Abbey to the house of her abusive uncle. Her only joy now that school’s let out is her job taking care of Reward’s horses, and it’s at the stables that Abbey meets Bee, the daughter of Reward’s newest owner. After a bit of awkwardness, the girls become fast friends, and their afternoon adventures on the plantation’s estate lead to a few key discoveries: first, there’s something suspicious going on down at Felony Bay, which is technically part of Reward, and second, it may have something to do with Abbey’s uncle, her dad’s shady business partner, and the accident that maybe wasn’t an accident after all. Wonderfully inventive colloquialisms and true Southern sass mark Abbey’s narration, and she’s impossible not to like, even when she’s being a bit too precocious for her own good. The bad guys are apparent from the beginning, but it’s puzzling out how they fit together and what exactly their scheme is that will keep readers turning the pages. A character in itself, the South Carolina setting is fully realized with the danger and beauty of its swampy backwoods a factor in every chapter. Future fans of Grisham will find this immensely satisfying, as will readers who were enchanted by Turnage’s Three Times Lucky (BCCB 7/12). KQG - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

School Library Journal - 06/01/2013 Gr 4–7—Spirited Abbey Force, 12, is the only child of the former owner of Reward Plantation, near Charleston, South Carolina. After a curious accident 18 months before, Abbey's father was found in a coma, surrounded by stolen jewels. Now Abbey lives with her cruel uncle and is determined to prove that her father is not a thief. Help arrives in the form of the daughter of the new plantation owner, Bee Force. The plot is clever, with clues dropped in each chapter and a surprising betrayal at the end. Suspense builds steadily, fueled by buried treasure, villains, and old-fashioned sleuthing. Thompson writes with plenty of dialogue, and the action is nonstop, but there is attention to detail as well. The landscape of Felony Bay-complete with alligators, mosquitoes, and a derelict cabin-creates a setting central to the story. With mixed success, Thompson takes Southern gothic tropes and incorporates them into a fast-paced mystery with subplots that tackle tough issues. Abbey is sensitive to Reward Plantation's slaveholding history. She is aware that her friend Bee, who is African American and shares her last name, is descended from people who were once slaves there. The story is a little heavy-handed, but tenacious Abbey makes it appealing to readers.—Martha Baden, Prescott Public Library, AZ - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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