Thursday, April 12, 2012

Code of Silence by Tim Shoemaker

Cooper and his friends Gordy and Hiro love hanging out at Frank-n-Stein's restaurant. Frank is like a grandfather figure to them. He helps them with their school work and he serves the most amazing chocolate monster shakes. They stay late one evening to play one last arcade game while Frank closes and cleans up when a robbery takes place. Cooper and his friends manage to hide but see everything that happens. The robbers are wearing masks so they cannot identify them. Frank is beat into a coma. While the thieves are upstairs breaking into the safe Cooper manages to grab the security hard drive and they all sneak out of the restaurant. Unfortunately Coop doesn't make it very far before one of the thieves catches him and manages to threaten him before a crowd shows up.

Having seen that two of the thieves seemed to be wearing policemen uniforms Cooper is afraid to go to the police with the information. He doesn't know who they can trust. He comes up with the idea of having a Code of Silence in order to keep them all safe from the thieves. Cooper finds that maintaining silence comes with a price. He finds himself having to lie to his parents, his teachers, his friends, himself and ultimately to God.

Hiro wants to be a police officer when she grows up. She encourages Cooper to tell their parents what they saw. Cooper insists that it would be too dangerous. Hiro finds she can no longer trust Coop because of his lies. Gordy tries to maintain the peace between his two friends. Will Coopers lies be the end of their friendship? And will  his keeping this secret from his parents put him in more danger than he originally thought?

I really thought this was a great suspense novel for middle grade readers. The suspense is spread throughout the story from the robbery, to the suspense of wondering if the police were going to catch up with them, to the grand finale. I liked also how the author showed that even though Cooper thought he was doing the best thing by keeping a code of silence from the adults around him, that once you lie you have to continue to lie to cover up the first lie. And that through those lies you lose friends and the trust that those friends have in you. I thought that was a great moral lesson in the story. I liked the fact that Hiro confronted Cooper about his lies. One thing that I found was a bit unrealistic was the fact that these kids were out running around the neighborhood late into the evenings on school nights and their parents didn't seem to have a problem with it. But over all this was a good read.

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