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by Martina Wildner & translated by James Skofield

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: March 14th, 2006
ISBN: 0-385-73250-3
Publisher: Delacorte

Translated smoothly from German, Wildner presents an intimate two-and-a-half-week slice of Victor’s life in Berlin, beginning on his 13th birthday, when he receives a mysterious riddle that triggers a series of dark events in his neighborhood. Told through Victor’s realistically scattered thoughts, readers closely follow him as he unpacks the riddles, which focus on star and number patterns. Beyond this writing style’s benefit of building suspense, it also provides raw portraits of Victor’s neighbors, his separated parents and the tragic female teen character D, who coincidentally appears when the first riddle arrives. Victor’s relationship with D forces him to take risks, look outside his familiar and safe community and ultimately, mature as he deals with D’s quirky personality and later the discovery of her true identity. Unfortunately, as Victor’s character begins to solidify, Wildner rushes to conveniently solve the neighborhood mystery, which jars the plot’s natural flow and detracts from the true importance of Victor’s self-discovery and his relationship with D. (Fiction. YA)