Final Cut

Orca. (Orca Anchor). Aug. 2022. 96p. pap. $10.95. ISBN 9781459834187.
Gr 6-8–It’s Mason’s last day at his middle school before his family moves to Toronto. He’s finishing up shooting a scene for a gory horror film he’s producing with best friend Maya when they’re mocked and tormented by “monster queen” Denise and her boyfriend, Cole, the “beast jerk king.” Mason catches them on camera making some remarks that are embarrassing when taken out of context. Mason edits the footage to place Denise and Cole’s faces on dogs’ behinds and releases the video on social media. The rest of the story involves Mason on the following day trying to outrun them and their friends, who are trying to catch Mason and threaten to shave him bald. After he intervenes and rescues Denise from a threatened sexual assault outside a bar, she softens on the revenge plan. Eventually, Mason uses a stage knife and tube of fake blood to disrupt a final attack at a skate park. The story, written at a first to second grade reading level, is thin and at times preposterous but the viral video and social media panic will no doubt resonate with middle school readers. The chase scene has enough twists and near-misses to maintain engagement.
VERDICT A secondary purchase for middle school libraries.

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