|Kelli Sue Landon|
Today, I would like to share my review of the youth mystery, Sudden Moves, by author Kelli Sue Landon. This is Kelli's first novel.
When Katie Brashers announces to her friends that she's headed to Orlando, Florida, for spring break, no one thinks twice. But when school resumes and Katie is nowhere to be found, her sixteen-year-old classmate and friend, Michelle Martin, grows suspicious. The school staff claims that the family moved to Florida, but Michelle doesn't buy it. First, Katie never said goodbye to her devoted boyfriend, Brad; and second, Katie still has a treasured family book Michelle gave her to read-a book Katie promised to return. Something doesn't make sense. Michelle and her best friend, Tami, team up with Brad to investigate the family's disappearance, but it's not easy. Not only do they have to dodge Michelle's demanding, nosey mother, but they also have to sneak around the neighborhood while avoiding arrest for trespassing. After talking to neighbors and looking inside the house, they still have nothing but circumstantial evidence. Michelle is about ready to give up-until she takes her dog for their daily walk and uncovers a concrete clue. The clue leads her closer to the truth, but also thrusts her into dangerous circumstances beyond her control. If she isn't careful, Michelle could end up like Katie-gone without a trace.
Book Title: Sudden Moves
Author: Kelli Sue Landon
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui
Michelle Martin is worried. Her friend Katie went to Florida for spring break and never came back. It isn’t just that Katie left without saying good bye. That was bad enough, but Katie never returned the book she borrowed and Michelle is going to be in serious trouble if her mom finds out she loaned it to Katie. Author Kelli Sue Landon takes this simple turn of events in a teen’s life and weaves a mystery that is sure to please her young adult audience.
The dramas surrounding friendships, infatuations, academics, family difficulties, and the teen culture depicted in Sudden Moves are all believable and set the stage well for the mystery that Landon unfolds.
There are a few plot twists and surprises in store for the reader that I don’t want to give away. I can share that Landon reintroduces us to kids we remember from high school, only Landon’s teens are living and dealing with all the pitfalls, social environment and pressures of modern day America.
Landon successfully writes the teen mentality, capturing all of the frustrations and inexperience which lead her young characters further and further into danger and along the road toward adulthood.
She places obstacles in their paths that many young adults face and yet she does so without depicting all the adult characters as either foolish, self centered or villainous. The adults in Sudden Moves have as many problems and quirks as the teens, but the author doesn’t treat them as cheap comic relief or with disdain, as is often done for television.
The book has a good pace, with plenty of rising action carrying the plot forward. There is a criminal element to the story, with some implied and mild violence that advances the plot. Teens fourteen and above will appreciate this book and relate well with its characters. There is a good amount of interaction between the main character, Michelle, and her parents –with several realistic and trust building scenes. Law enforcement figures are treated respectfully by the author.
Sudden Moves is above all else a mystery and Landon works hard to give her audience everything they need to make sense of and unravel the truth, right along with Michelle, about what happened to Katie.