Twelve-year-old Pete Collison is a regular kid who loves Sam Spade detective books and radio crime dramas, but when an FBI agent shows up at Pete’s doorstep accusing his father of being a Communist, Pete finds himself caught in a real-life mystery. Could there really be Commies in Pete’s family? At the same time, Pete’s class turns against him, thanks to similar rumors spread by his own teacher; even Kat, Pete’s best friend, feels the pressure to ditch him. As Pete follows the quickly accumulating clues, he begins to wonder if the truth could put his family’s livelihood--and even their freedom--at risk.
In the tradition of his Newbery Honor book Nothing But the Truth, Avi’s newest novel tells a funny, insightful story packed with realistic period detail of a boy in mid-twentieth-century America. Its unique look at what it felt like to be an average family caught in the wide net of the Red Scare has powerful relevance to contemporary questions of democracy and individual freedoms.
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“Suspenseful . . . Authentic period details--such as popular radio programs and the ongoing rivalry between the Dodgers and the Giants--add a colorful backdrop to Pete’s quest as he navigates the murky gray area between truth and fiction. An excellent introduction to the frenzy of the McCarthy era.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Avi’s tale of one Brooklyn family living in a time of intolerance effectively explores the natures of suspicion, loyalty, and freedom, following a young protagonist who comes to learn the importance of freedom of speech and ‘staying true to your own thoughts.’” —The Horn Book Magazine
“An involving, twisty mystery, grounded by the palpable emotional threat of Pete’s father being taken away. An accomplished historical mystery by one of kid lit’s most reliable craftspeople.” —Booklist
“A thought-provoking story about suspicion, trust and a memorable pennant race from a one-time Brooklyn boy.” —Kirkus Reviews