FICTION

Dark Divide

384p. Holiday House. Jul. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823438365.
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Gr 9 Up—This sequel to Desert Dark doubles down on intrigue by deep-diving into the intricacies of conspiracies and the fallout of secrets. Nadia Riley just wants to put last semester's betrayals behind her as she continues training at Desert Mountain Academy, a CIA black ops boarding school. In between lessons at the dojo and classes on psychological warfare, former teammate Damon Moore drops a bombshell into Nadia's lap—her father is not who he says he is. Damon promises further insight, but he has own agenda and is not to be trusted. Fellow team members Simon, Libby, and Alan are, in the meantime, running training missions for leader Jack that may have real-world implications. This is structured around flash-forwards and flashbacks, alternating among Nadia, her teammates, Damon, and Jack. The multiple viewpoints add intriguing layers to the spy narrative, but some readers may get whiplash from the frequent plot twists. The continued emphasis on Nadia as a focal point from the first installment feels a bit forced until the latter half of the book reveals her ultimate importance. New and returning readers will appreciate the beginning's debriefing on past events as well as explanations of espionage terms like tiger kidnapping and Stockholm syndrome within the book. Give this novel to teens that crave brisk, action-heavy intrigue and don't mind realistic violence.
VERDICT Purchase for libraries where Stone's first book saw popularity and where spy thrillers circulate well.

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