Published by Balzer + Bray
Summary: Keenan’s recovering at his dad’s house on Centerlight Island after contracting TB while living with his mom and stepfather in Shanghai. There are some pretty unique features to Centerlight: the U.S.-Canadian border that runs through the middle of it; the crumbling lighthouse; the gangsters who are rumored to have hidden treasure there; and Zarabeth, a.k.a. ZeeBee, the neighbor girl who befriends Keenan. As the only Canadian girl her age on the island, ZeeBee doesn’t have any friends, but she does have a wild imagination. She’s sure Tommy-Gun Ferguson, the gangster who once lived in her house, buried gold somewhere on the island and she’s equally sure that her beloved dog, Barney, was murdered. As Keenan learns more about his new home, he discovers that almost every resident had reason to want ferocious, destructive Barney dead. After a rocky start to their friendship, Keenan and ZeeBee agree to join forces and end up discovering more about Centerlight than they originally bargained for. 320 pages; grades 3-7.
Pros: It would hardly be a new year without a new offering from perennial favorite Gordon Korman. Told in his trademark alternate points of view–mostly Keenan and ZeeBee, with a few other Centerlight residents occasionally chiming in–there’s enough humor, friendship, and mystery to keep Korman’s many fans happy for another year. Whoops, make that six months–there’s another Gordon Korman book due out in July.
Cons: It was a bit difficult to fathom ZeeBee’s love for and her family’s patience with Barney.