- Full Ride by Margaret Peterson Haddix
After her father’s cybercrimes land him in prison, Becca Jones and her mother flee Atlanta and their once-privileged lives for a meager existence in Ohio, where intrusive reporters and terrifying death threats can’t follow them—provided they don’t do anything her father’s enemies could possibly trace. Unable to get close to anyone lest they learn the truth, Becca goes through high school with a simmering anger, which she unleashes on her mother, and an unwavering focus on her studies; applying to college, however, means she must confront a digital world requiring electronic financial aid applications, potentially exposing her whereabouts. When a local competition for a full-ride scholarship presents a possible solution but instead pushes her to reveal the truth, she learns she is in more danger than she ever knew—and it’s time to stop hiding. Author Haddix takes a well-worn idea—discovering one’s parents aren’t as they appear—and engagingly weaves in modern concerns about pervasive social media and our alarming vulnerability in cyberspace. The novel labors to establish its tone and direction, however, and the book descends periodically into implausible melodrama. Once it finds its footing it’s solidly suspenseful, though, and the themes of love, loyalty, and friendship pair with thrilling digital dangers to create a novel both warm and thought-provoking, likely to fare well among the web-savvy kids in your library.