A terrorist threat to the president of the United States hits home for a teenager because the chief executive is her mom.
In Greenland’s (Scouts, 2019, etc.) latest YA thriller, Cuban American Sophie Washington will never forget her 17th birthday. It begins in the wee hours when her father wakes her with startling news: A domestic terrorist group has put a hit on her mother, the U.S. president. Her mom believes the action “is coming from someone on the inside.” Even kind-eyed Frank, the Secret Service agent who’s been with Sophie “forever,” can’t be trusted. Until today, Sophie’s biggest worry was how her parents would react to her plan to pierce her nose. Now, in addition to the credible threat to her mom, no one can locate her older “goofball brother,” Erik. When Sophie gets a call for help from Erik’s girlfriend, Britta, the first daughter evades her security detail and races to meet the girl at a designated spot. But no one is there when Sophie arrives. Do the terrorists have Erik and Britta as well as their other missing friend, Danforth? The three of them went to a party earlier, according to Erik’s best friend, Max. Sophie has her own posse: Zeke (who makes her heart “tumble”) and techno whiz kids Jackson and Callie. The group met in the CIA’s Teen Intelligence Program. Espionage training and plain, old badass ability help Sophie as she tries to find her brother and save her mom. The teen hacks into a senator’s computer, kidnaps an elderly woman, and straps a dagger to her thigh before sneaking into a construction site with Zeke. No one’s virginity gets lost in the propulsive novel, but a toe does, through torture. A surprising amount of cruelty, betrayal, and violence takes place, followed by an equally startling quick recovery from all of it. Attention from Zeke unrealistically seems to balance out all the truly bad stuff Sophie experiences. Toning down her take-charge abilities would boost the believability factor. But Greenland’s decision to make Sophie’s mom not immune to wrongdoing adds interest to the story as does having both the president and vice president ex-military. And the flashbacks in italics work well.
Spy Kids meets White House Down in this fast-paced thriller with an overabundance of violence.