390. Who I'm Not by Ted Staunton

Who I'm Not by Ted Staunton

Rating: (4/5)

(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)

Oct. 1 2013, Orca Books, 208 pgs

Age: (12+)

"Danny has more lives than the proverbial cat.
Danny has survived everything life has thrown at him: being abandoned at birth, multiple abusive foster homes, life as a con man in training. But when his latest "protector" dies suddenly, Danny has to think fast or he'll be back in foster care again. He decides to assume the identity of a boy who disappeared three years before. If nothing else, he figures it will buy him a little time. Much to his astonishment, his new "family" accepts him as their own—despite the fact that he looks nothing like their missing relative. But one old cop has his suspicions about Danny—and he's not about to declare the case closed. Inspired by a true story, Who I'm Not is a powerful portrait of a boy whose identity is as fluid as a river and as changeable as a chameleon's skin."

Received a review copy from Library Thing's Early Review Program.

I had never heard of Canadian author Ted Staunton until I noticed he was one of the authors in the "Seven" series that I am currently reading.  When I noticed this book, his name caught my eye and the plot reminded me of a previous book I'd read plus some true cases I'd heard of though this sounded like a different take on the return of a kidnapped child and I was intrigued.  Going into an author for the first time one never knows what to expect and I found myself hooked by the first chapter.  "Danny' for want of a better name, is a street-smart, cocky kid, a born con-man and yet from the beginning we sympathise with him not only because of his rough life but because he is a genuine person under the veneer.  We understand what he gets out of his dupe and wonder, just like him, what else is going on here; is he being duped himself?  Danny is way in over his head and the story becomes quite the intense mystery/thriller with a shocking tragic ending which comes totally out of nowhere.  Not how one usually expects a YA novel to end.  I found the writing to be brilliant, it kept me glued to the pages, the story was impressive and there was no writing down to the audience just because the main characters were teen-aged.  This is quite readable by teens and adults alike.  Staunton seems to have written mostly books for younger audiences to date  and I'd certainly like to see more of this calibre from him.  Good realistic teen fiction suspense!

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