Thursday, July 28, 2011
Nickel Plated by Aric Davis - Bookaday #24
Davis, Aric. Nickel Plated. AmazonEncore, 2011. $9.95. 172p. 978-1-9355-9732-2
Nickel is this twelve year-old kid who lives on his own and solves problems for people. He was raised in foster care and his last placement went so horribly wrong that he barely escaped with his life. He's determined never to return to foster care. He's built quite a reputation, and a life, for himself. He knows how to fight and how to stay under the radar. He's computer savvy and put's his life on the line for what he believes in. He just wants to make the bad guys pay.
Aric Davis writes Nickel like an old-fashioned hard-boiled Sam Spadish detective. He's all "babe" this and chews on a matchstick. Typical. Davis tells us a lot about Nickel without just letting us get to know him through his actions. Arrow, a 14 year-old who hires Nickel, was also a very flat character. You don't really feel any sort of connection to either of them.
But, that said, I was sucked into the story. As Nickel searches for the missing 11 year-old Shelby, I was right there with him. He uses his background in foster care to help him look for clues. Now, there were quite a few situations that I didn't think a 12 year-old could have handled but if you've been on your own and had such a terrible life, maybe that forces you to grow up faster than normal, I don't know. Davis ties Nickel's three cases together, the major one with Shelby and the two other cases with Jeff, whose mother thinks his girlfriend is leading him down the wrong path, and Veronica, who wants him to launder money. Nickel does a few things that are not legal. I think we could have left the weed growing out - "I figure it's not really hurting anybody." Overall, I liked Nickel Plated but it wouldn't be one I would hand to students. I think The Adventures of Jack Lime would be a better choice. It also has a young character who is a detective but Jack is in high school, which is a little more believable.