Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Terror! Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau

"Don't fight!" said Cas. "Can we turn the radio back on? Maybe they'll tell us help is finally coming."

Rashid clicked on the radio. The announcer was telling everyone that the firefighters were making progress:

"With one person of interest being questioned, authorities are working to find another individual they have confirmed is involved in this terrible bombing. A source confirms that the individual is one of the students trapped on the second floor of the school. With four bombs having already gone off, there appears to be one explosive device still inside the school that could detonate at any time."

Another bomb was ready to go off, and the bomber was one of them.

It is the week before the new academic year begins. Six students leave their homes to go to their school, each one concealing the real personal reason to be there--from setting up a complex prank to suicide and murder.

Diana knows that all her father cares about is for her to be the flawless Congressman's daughter.

She was determined to prove him wrong.

Rashid thinks of the looks he'd gotten at school since his beard, the one he wasn't allowed to shave off, had grown.

Hitching up the bag, Rashid frowned. If he was going to change things, he had to do it today.

Z's mom has died of cancer, and without money, he'd just received the letter telling him he's about to become homeless.

Z grabbed his father's old army duffle. He had things to do. He was going to school, and he wasn't coming back.

Frankie's sister has  figured out he's pulling some big prank on the Junior Varsity guys. Frankie knows he made a mistake with Tad. But it's a mistake no one in school would ever believe about their star quarterback.

Frankie adjusted the bag on his arm and pushed all thoughts of Tad to the side. It was time to finish what he'd started.

Everywhere--on the football team, at school, at home, Tad is tired of pretending to be someone only he knows he can no longer be.

He grabbed his gym bag. Everything was there. He was going to insist on being noticed. And it wouldn't be just his life that changed if he went through with this.

Cas had thought things might be different in her new school, but they have already decided she wasn't good enough.

She jammed the stupid scarf into her bag and yanked open one of the glass doors to the school. She was done with it all.

Now, bruised and bleeding, some with broken bones, all six of them are trapped in a collapsing building with a raging fire spreading inside. Outside fire fighters can't enter because of the remaining bomb that may explode at any moment. They came with very different purposes, but now all but one have only one thought, to survive, and for that they need each other.

Joelle Charbonneau's forthcoming thriller, Time Bomb (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018) is a mystery thriller, a survival story as timely as yesterday's news, and a sensitive story of six teenagers at a pivotal moment in their lives, a story in which they know that, although one of them is a terrorist, they need all of them if anyone is to escape death.

Noted for her trilogy, The Testing, a series of dystopian novels about a band of competitive teens who come together to save their society, author Charbonneau knows how to create believable but disparate characters whose fate depends upon their ability to meet a challenge to their survival. Introducing the protagonists in brief thumbnail chapters written in their own voices, she gradually reveals their secrets while keeping the reader guessing who the real bomber is until the ending. No one of them comes out of that building the same as they went in, in a page-turning survival story of school violence that will have readers wondering what they would do when the bombs go off.

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