Maggie Hall, debut author of The Conspiracy of Us, initially asks a lot of her readers. The reader is asked to make a enormous leap in accepting the plausibility of protagonist Avery’s initial decisions about her willingness to go with people and accept horrific actions that should probably induce a complete emotional breakdown. However, readers who can make that leap are in for a thrilling and fun read that takes the characters to exotic locations and plunges them into exciting chase scenes. This novel is a bit like a mash-up of National Treasure and a Bourne Identity movie with a dash of The DaVinci Code. (In fact, young adult readers who enjoyed the 39 Clues Series when they were younger might find this a nice step up.) Alongside the conspiracy/thriller action are Avery’s romantic interests, which receive prominent page time and are a significant part of this book. Ms. Hall dangles a lot of tidbits, but never reveals the complete picture as she twists the knot on her plot right up to a cliffhanger-style ending. The Conspiracy of Us is the first in a conceived trilogy, and it promises to be a gripping journey.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Profanity/Language: 21 religious exclamations; 3 mild obscenities; 2 anatomical terms.
Violence/Gore: Verbal threats and threats with weapons; extended multi-page scene in which character is attacked with a knife involving struggling, hitting with objects, falling, resulting in a injury with mention of blood and a death by gunshot and a severing of head with description of dripping and pooling blood, etc.; character kills another by stabbing in chest with knife, mention of blood; chase scene in which there is shooting, minor injury from a cut with mention of blood, falling objects, etc.; report of death of family members in an accident; report of general attacks and killing of various people and of an unborn child; non-detailed report of a parent; report of execution of an employee that violated rules; dried blood is scene; hands cut for a ritual, mention of dripping blood; character accidentally cuts self, mention of blood; gunshots heard, death implied; extended scene involving punching, stabbing, chasing, etc.
Sex/Nudity: Several instances of innuendo; character overheard saying that a boy was “invited into EmmaBeth’s pants”; report that a character’s mother became pregnant in college; reference to seduction, someone being hot, knocked-up, etc.; one character infers/suspects that someone is homosexual; reference to individuals being found “together”; character repeatedly notices the physical appearance of a couple of other characters and finds them attractive; characters hold hands; characters kiss passionately (~ 1 page); characters embrace; character runs fingers through another character’s hair; character says they can’t tell if they are trying to “sleep with me”; female (age 16) and a male (unspecified, but perhaps a little older) wearing sleepwear share a bed and intimately caress each other on the arm, neck, chest, etc. in a descriptive and detailed multi-page (~5 pages) scene; characters kiss passionately.
Mature Subject Matter:
Death, assassination, politics, conspiracies, kidnapping/hostages.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adults smoke and drink; teenager smokes; smoking and drinking occurs at a dance club, ages of characters are unspecified.