Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Narc by Crissa-Jean Chappell

I really enjoyed the book Total Constant Order by this author, in fact I made it a staff recommendation at the bookstore where I work too.  So I was so excited when I got to meet her at BEA this summer.  And I also got an advanced readers copy of her latest book, Narc, autographed of course!
Now, unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first one, but it was still overall a pretty good book.  I know exactly which students I would recommend this to, and I could actually see it as a possible nomination for our state reader award lists, based on books in the same thread that have been on the lists before.
Narc is a story about exactly what you think, a boy who becomes a Narc in his school.  It all begins when he makes a mistake, he is driving with his sister, and runs a red light.  The cop who pulls him over finds drugs in the car.  Aaron knows they are his, but his sister must have found them in his room and taken them, so the cops find them on her.  They give him a deal to keep both himself and his sister out of jail or juvie, he can go back to school and help them discover who is actually supplying the drugs.  Aaron was always kind of a loner, one might call him a bit of a loser.  But now he comes back, and must figure a way in with the kids that might have the answer to this question.  He starts with a couple girls.  Ones he knows have the big parties, and even seem like they do drugs.  But one, the one he really likes, Morgan, also has a jerk ex-boyfriend, who kind of senses something is off about Aaron.  Aaron's home life isn't great either.  His father died taking pictures of the war.  His mom has been working a ton, and kind of become a bit of an absentee mom.  He knows his sister is up to something, she's too young for a boyfriend, but is out visiting one, someone they don't know.
Some issues I had with the book.  It was a bit confusing in how he was dealing with the situation.  The way he went about getting in with the other kids.  I didn't like the way the police were, I know, it is supposed to be from a teenager's point of view, a teenager being coerced into doing this against his will.  I just don't feel like the cops really worked in the story for what I would think they would actually do.  I did like the use of the Facebook stuff, social media is such a big deal these days with bullying and similar things.  But the way it was put forth in the book was almost barely there, kind of confusing for me.  I feel it could have been fleshed out a bit more.  Although I did really like the way he got some clues about who was doing the online sabotage, based on things he saw.  I won't say what exactly, don't want to spoil that "a-ha!" moment in the book.
One thing I personally LOVED, was all the references to the Marx Brothers. I am such a huge fan of them, in fact was back when I was younger, and even in the 80's, most people my age didn't know who the Marx Brothers were.  Just as it is for Aaron in this book. I love that it was a family thing for him, as it was for me with my grandpa.
Crissa-Jean Chappell
All in all a good book for what it was supposed to be about.  I did really like the ending, both the climax when it all went down, and the "afterward" part.