SURFACE TENSION by Mike Mullin

SURFACE TENSION

Age Range: 13 - 18
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A white supremacist terrorist group targets a teenage witness.

Avid cyclist Jake, a white teen from a working-class family, happens upon a plot by a white nationalist group, the Sons of Paine, that blows up an airplane. He escapes, but with a head injury that compromises his memory. Before he can recall that fateful day, Jake must dodge the terrorists’ assassination attempts—luckily his wealthy, black girlfriend, Laurissa, is not only loyal, but a skilled action heroine. Their adorable romance has some friction rooted in their racial and socio-economic differences: Laurissa’s mother isn’t crazy about her children dating white people, and Jake sometimes needs racial realities pointed out to him. The story is narrated by Jake and Sons of Paine teen operative Betsy, who hangs out on white-supremacist web forums. The organization wishes to restore America to what they believe is its lost purity by triggering a war against Muslims; to this end, they commit their crimes dressed in Middle Eastern garb. The Sons of Paine infiltrate the FBI investigation in order to frame Jake, forcing him to rely on his wits to uncover the truth before it’s too late. One FBI agent is Muslim. The book implicitly condemns Islamophobia but avoids directly engaging with why people harbor such beliefs or how to rehabilitate them.

Entertaining as a popcorn action flick but politically superficial. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 8th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-939100-16-0
Page count: 350pp
Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2018




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