If the Witness LiedTitle: If the Witness Lied
Author: Caroline B. Cooney
ISBN: 9780385904513
Pages: 213 pages
Publisher/Date: Delacorte Press, c2009.

All the way back to the Emmers’ on Thursday, Madison reminds herself that there was a witness to the accident. They know what happened: the witness told them.
Now, Friday morning, in the stuffy dark of the blanket, Madison allows the swollen though to come all the way out.
If Tris would not release the brake… but the brake was released… then somebody else released it.
The witness lied. (24-25)

Jack Fountain has essentially been abandoned by his two sisters after their parents die. Sixteen year old Madison has taken a friend’s offer to stay with them for a while. Fourteen year old Smithy applied on her own to a boarding school she located online. So Jack is left alone to deal with his pseudo-“aunt” who is obsessed with being on television and his almost three year old brother Tristan. However, “Aunt” Cheryl’s latest idea for fame involves exploiting the tragic circumstances of their parents’ death and exposing Tristan to the world. Jack, Madison, and Smithy must come to terms with their own grief while protecting Tristan and learning the real truth of what happened almost a year ago.

I don’t know why my two favorite books so far from my list of young adult books to read for my award committee involve dead parents. Is that saying something about me? I sure hope not! But from the very first instant I started to read, I was hooked. Unfortunately, that meant I was up until 3 a.m. on a work night finishing the darn thing!

Cooney begins by doling out information, making readers race through searching for more back ground story. The plot quickly evolves, bringing the main cast of characters together in a riveting story that you just can’t put down. The kids are resourceful, but not to the point where you wonder why the author just didn’t give them super powers. It makes you stop and wonder just what kids in that situation go through. Librarians will like that the kids find refuge in a library, but that is hardly the reason that I will be recommending this book to mystery and thriller fans alike.

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