The Acid King

480p. (Simon True). bibliog. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Dec. 2018. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781481482295; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781481482288.
Gr 9 Up—A captivating true-crime read. The book opens with a list of people who are important for understanding the events that took place in this 1980s-set narrative. That list becomes helpful as readers advance through the account, since the intricate web of people and events becomes quite complex. Pollack expertly crafts this retelling by paralleling two teens in Long Island who will become lost on their path to adulthood. These two boys fall victim to family pressures, drugs, and the strong desire to fit in among peers. In the midst of navigating these coming-of-age hurdles, they each make a series of choices that lead them into the woods together one night, and only one of them walks out alive. Adolescents will find this read a page-turner as each chapter reveals another layer to the tragedy. Additionally, Pollack presents shades of gray regarding "good" and "evil" among the teens and adults in the small town; the role of the press is also examined. Readers are given a variety of lenses to view this crime, helping them better understand why the murder happened instead of simply knowing how it transpired.
VERDICT An exciting and thought-provoking selection for libraries serving those who enjoy true-crime or mystery novels.

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