Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Thriller Pick: Cold Calls

Cold Calls
by Charles Benoit
Clarion Books
288 pages
ISBN: 9780544239500

A late night phone call, a disguised voice, a threat. The caller knows him and has been in his room. Eric is afraid to trust the caller, but he's more afraid of what the caller will do if he doesn't do what is expected of him. The caller has ammunition and is willing to use it if Eric doesn't do his bidding. Eric follows through with the prank and finds himself in a detention class at the community center  for bullies.

Fatima and Shelly are in the class with Eric. They discover that each of them has had a threat from an unknown caller who directed them to pull similar pranks at their schools. Suddenly, it becomes clear that the caller is the same person for each of them. How does the caller know them and how are they tied together? They were all threatened and blackmailed by the same caller but now the kids join forces to try and discover  who is threatening them. The more they discover, the tighter they each hold their own secret.

The book is marketed as "Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club," but fans of the Liars series may be left wanting more as far as fashion and love interests. The main characters are likeable enough but a bit one-sided. Maybe not enough time passes in the book for the characters to fully develop and experience change. Although the kids  learn to work together, their  "friendship" appears fleeting. The cell phone/cyber bully is an interesting addition to YA lit but not a welcome one. The fact that Cold Calls seems like familiar territory  makes this book real for readers.

Recommended grade 9-up. Mature subject matter and cyber bullying and talk of explicit cell phone photos.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at

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