Review Blog

Jan 08 2010

Conspiracy 365: January by Gabrielle Lord

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Scholastic, 2009. ISBN 9781741690330.
(Ages 11+) Walking home one night, Callum is chased by a disheveled man who warns him that he must stay hidden for 365 days, or else he would be killed like his father. Dismissing him as stupid, he watches as the ambulance takes him away, but when over the next few days things happen which alert him to the possibility of his being targeted by persons unknown, he recalls all that the man told him, and strives to keep himself safe.
A clever idea, Callum has to remain hidden for a year, and so Scholastic is publishing a book a month for the year in 2010, following Callum's desperate survival as he tracks down his would be killers and those of his father and strives to find out why this is happening. Fast paced, action packed, with a likeable hero, Conspiracy 365 is a winning formula which will be widely read by upper primary and lower secondary kids. A website,(www.conspiracy365.com) accompanies the book and kids will find that they can win prizes by accessing the website.
A breathless, easy to read series of novels for the middle school, there are some intriguing differences used in this series to make it stand out. The pagination starts at 188 and counts down: the font used is more administrative adding to the feeling of a police report and the pages are almost diary entry style, with times as well as dates heading each entry, all of which add up to an enjoyable twist on the usual survival story. Inside the front cover is a Conspiracy Card asking readers to log on with their own number, so enabling them to be in the draw for prizes, and inside the back cover is a lsit of all 12 books coming out in 2010. Boys will pick this up because of the story and the details, while girls will go for the dishy picture of Callum on the front cover. Whatever else this will be a hit.
Fran Knight

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