The high school year is almost over, there’s a party in the park, and Mister Death will soon be there, rifle in hand.
It’s June 1956, and the kids in the park are dancing to Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and the Platters. Mister Death is there too, a boy in a tree, rifle in hand. Two girls, Cheryl and Bobbi Jo, never make it to school the next day, their bloody bodies found in the park where they were shot. Hahn’s well-constructed story traces the effects of a crime on everyone involved, including Buddy Novak, accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Multiple perspectives offer readers a chance to view the crime from various angles. A third-person narration follows the machinations of Mister Death, while a first-person voice is perfect for developing narrator Nora Cunningham’s character, a 16-year-old girl full of questions and doubts and who ultimately doesn't believe the gossip mill that pins the blame on Buddy. Diary entries, letters and first-person accounts from secondary characters add depth and sophistication to the tale, letting readers figure out for themselves what really happened.
An engrossing exploration of how a murder affects a community. (Historical thriller. 12 & up)