From time to time, I’ll review books for middle grade readers and I am excited about recommending this one. If you’re looking for a great book for a junior high age student, check out Tim Shoemaker’s Code of Silence: Living a Lie Comes With a Price.
Cooper, his cousin Gordy, and friend Hiroko hang out at their favorite restaurant playing one last video game while the owner closes up. Just as the kids prepare to leave, two thugs break in and attack the owner, leaving him dying on the floor while they ransack the safe upstairs. From their hiding place, the kids hear everything, and barely escape alive. The last one out, Cooper leaves behind his backpack and comes face to face with one of the thieves who threatens to find him and kill him and his family.
Cooper refuses to report what they saw to the police because the thieves wore police uniform pants. What if he spills the beans to a crooked cop who then carries out the threat against his family? To protect himself and his loved ones, he persuades Gordy and Hiro to pledge a code of silence, refusing to tell anyone what they’ve seen and heard. But that means lying about where they were that night. The first lie leads to another, and then another. The presence of the backpack alerts police to the possibility of a witness and as they increase the pressure to find that witness, Cooper’s lies come fast and thick. But his dishonesty builds a wall between him and his closest friends, as well as harming his relationship with his parents. How can he dig himself out of this hole, and help find the thieves before they find him?
Boys especially will love the spell-binding action and suspense of this novel, but there’s plenty for girls to enjoy, too. Cooper’s, Gordy’s and Hiro’s motivations are believable and the realistic consequences of their choices create plenty of opportunities for kids to think about the virtue of honesty and the results of excusing one small lie.
You can find Tim’s book at any of these places:
Tim Shoemaker is a speaker and author of eight books, including Dangerous Devotions for Guys, and other unique teen devotionals. He writes for youth out of his experience as a volunteer youth leader for 16 years. Learn more about Tim at his website: http://www.timshoemakersmashedtomatoes.com/