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Richie's Picks: REALITY CHECK by Peter  Abrahams, Harper Teen, April 2009, 
330p., ISBN: 978-0-06-122766-0
"Cody extended his hand, patted Bud's face.  He looked  into Bud's big 
brown eyes, thinking: You know.  Whatever happened, you  know."  
Varsity quarterback Cody Laredo has a difficult time  scholastically.  He 
has some real disadvantages, being that his mom died  some years ago, and he 
shares a small, grungy apartment with his hard-drinking,  uneducated, 
unloving father.  Fortunately, Cody has a  great thing going with Clea, the 
smartest, richest, hottest,  horseback-ridingest girl at County High, in Little 
Bend, Colorado,  just east of the Rockies.  
But when, at the end of their sophomore year, Cody is  joyful about the D- 
in English -- it is, after all, good enough for  him to be able to play 
football in the fall -- Clea is totally freaked over her  B in calculus.  She 
knows that she'll pay a heavy price for anything  less than an A.  And she 
While Cody spends the summer helping make deliveries for  the local lumber 
yard, Clea's powerful businessman father ships her off to  her uncle's home 
in Hong Kong, and then enrolls her in a Vermont boarding  school for the 
fall.  Cody tries to do what he thinks is the right thing by  ending his 
relationship with Clea.  Then, at the very end of the  first football game of the 
season, a moment after Cody has pulled out a  one-point come-from-behind 
win, a very dirty and very late hit on his knee  results in a devastating, 
season-ending ACL injury that requires  surgery, pain pills, and rehabilitation. 
With no girlfriend, no support, and no football, Cody  quickly falls behind 
and then completely gives up on school.   Even a return to work for the 
lumber yard quickly sours...and  then Cody sees a story on the front page of 
the newspaper that Clea has  disappeared in the woods near her boarding 
school.  Her horse,  Bud, returned to the campus barn without her.
After a sleepless night, and a terrible day of work, Cody  comes home to 
find a somewhat cryptic letter from Clea that was mailed the same  day she 
disappeared.  Packing a snack and some clothes, withdrawing what he  can from 
the ATM, Cody aims his truck toward Vermont.
There are so many teens who love great  thriller/mystery stories -- or 
would if they were lucky enough to find  one.  Peter Abrahams has crafted a 
first-rate  page-turning thriller and mystery for young adults.  Danger,  
disappearance, and star-crossed lovers make REALITY CHECK a perfect summer  read.  

Richie  Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks _http://richiespicks.com_ ( 
Moderator, _ 
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