From the Publisher: Ethan has the perfect plan to impress his dad -- a "white-hat" hacker who works in IT security. He'll hack into the high school's computer system and release a relatively harmless virus created from an old modified code of his dad's. Ethan knows his dad will recognize him as the mastermind when it hits the evening news. Unfortunately for Ethan, when the segment does air, Dad misses it -- all his attention is on troubled stepsister Haley.
Ethan launches a full out battle for attention, only to find out that the fight has been one-sided when Haley accuses his dad of molesting her. Ethan refuses to believe the allegations against his dad are true, until he hacks into an old computer of his dad's and makes a startling discovery. Ethan has strived his whole life to be just like his dad, but when this dark secret comes to light, he doesn't know what kind of person that makes him.
I read an e-ARC of this title.
Strengths: This is part of part of Lorimer's SideStreets collection written for older struggling readers, so the storylines are for older kids but the writing level is lower so they're more accessible. This book had lots of action and plenty of suspense and I think it will appeal to the target group. The length is also good for struggling readers. It's just 152 pages. The technology thread at the beginning of the story will definitely appeal to techy, gadget obsessed readers. The behavior of the Haley rang true for many girls in her situation.
Weaknesses: I felt this this story tried to do too many things and consequently, didn't do any of them real justice. I also felt many things that happened in the story were implausible. However, my thoughts as an adult may be markedly different than those of the target group. I also didn't feel that the reading level as quite as low as the publisher suggested, as some of the vocabulary was fairly high.
Recommended for mature but struggling middle school readers and struggling high school readers.