Fairholm High School principal Suzanna Quinn works hard to make her school a safe place to learn. Sadly, the recent suicide of a student has placed a solemn pall over the rest of the student body and faculty.

Secret Service agent Joe Stonehouse is part of the National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC). Joe also helped to develop the Safe School Initiative after his niece was killed in a school shooting three years ago. With this program, teams are dispatched undercover to schools where warning signs are exhibited. When Fairholm rises to the top of the list, Joe and Luke Ludzecky are called.

Joe would prefer no one was told their true identity, but circumstances force him to notify the principal. Ostensibly Joe arrives at Fairholm as a new high school counselor and Luke his teenage nephew.

Award-wining author Kathryn Shay hits the mainstream genre with this powerful and timely novel. The dangers that can stalk children in school are all too real, as evidenced by a secondary relationship between a high school teacher and her "student," Luke. Although the teacher is torn by her feelings, considering the real-life events that have happened recently, it may leave a sour taste in some readers' mouths. (Aug., 416 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith