This third in a series of five novellas that follow one storyline adds white teen Colin to the list of reluctant participants in the Contest.
Colin’s family has serious financial problems. Their hardware store appears to be failing, and Colin’s courageous transgender sister needs the surgery that will make her fully female. Colin agrees to enter the contest run by the mysterious online “Benefactor,” hoping to win $10 million by completing 10 tasks before the other contestants. Colin realizes quite soon that the Benefactor appears to be using the young, desperate contestants to pull off some kind of criminal scheme. He teams with the fourth contestant to outwit the Benefactor, but both find themselves caught up in events and propelled toward the final tasks before they can do so. Clearly, the fourth and fifth books in the series will advance and conclude the story, but the first three books leave readers hanging, ready for the next installment. A great choice for reluctant readers, this book, in presenting the transgender story, also delves into advocacy for equality. Colin tumbles to the scheme earliest of the first three contestants but knows he’s trapped unless they all unite to fight back.
Pages will turn right up to the cliffhanger. (Thriller. 12-18)