Josephine Poole •
Touch and Go •
An excellent entry in the kids-get-in-over-their-heads mystery genre. En route to a seaside vacation, Emily and her mother suffer a minor car accident that sends Emily to the hospital for a few days to recover. The “farm” where they booked rooms turns out to be a rundown guest house with little to recommend it. They attend a dreadful concert, eat appalling food, and vie with other guests for the privilege of a hot bath. Emily’s mother consoles herself by reading magazines she would never touch at home.
Charles, the only other teenager in the vicinity, has a pocket full of library tickets and a head full of suspicions. He’s convinced there’s a plot to blow up the nearby naval college. Emily is inclined to dismiss his theories as nonsense—until someone sends a boulder hurtling down a cliffside just inches from her head. But what could Emily possibly know that makes her a threat?
As the pieces fall into place, Emily and Charles have to fight for their lives in one chilling circumstance after another, escaping only to find that no one will believe their story. And the bomb hidden at the naval college may go off at any time.
In the same way that she doesn’t pretty up danger, Poole turns a realistic eye on adult-teen relationships. Emily enjoys a better than average connection to her mother, yet they inhabit starkly different worlds. In the tradition of the best children’s literature, Touch and Go is as much about the characters as about the spine-tingling plot.