Published by Algonquin Young Readers
Summary: Pete finds himself suddenly ostracized from his seventh grade classmates when his teacher, Mr. Donavan, denounces Pete’s father as a Communist. It’s 1951, and the Red Scare is in full swing. Pete doesn’t believe that his dad, a history professor who loves America, could possibly be a Communist, but he decides to emulate his hero Sam Spade and do a little investigating. He’s unprepared for what he finds as he digs deep into his family’s history. When an FBI agent starts following Pete around his Brooklyn neighborhood, danger moves frighteningly close. There seems to be a secret informant, possibly right in the family. Will Pete be able to solve all the mysteries before his father loses his job or ends up in jail?
Pros: A combination historical fiction and mystery, this story is a page turner from beginning to end.
Cons: With 293 pages, lots of plot twists, and multiple historical references, the suggested audience of 8-12 seems a little young. Grades 5-8 is probably more appropriate. Also, do NOT judge this book by its cover, which features what looks to be a forlorn alien.