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16 May 2009 REALITY CHECK by Peter Abrahams, Harper Teen, April 2009, 330p., ISBN: 978-0-06-122766-0

"Cody extended his hand, patted Bud's face.  He looked into Bud's big brown eyes, thinking: You know.  Whatever happened, you know.
Varsity quarterback Cody Laredo has a difficult time scholastically.  He has some real disadvantages, being that his mom died some years ago, and he shares a small, grungy apartment with his hard-drinking, uneducated, unloving father.  Fortunately, Cody has a great thing going with Clea, the smartest, richest, hottest, horseback-ridingest girl at County High, in Little Bend, Colorado, just east of the Rockies.  
But when, at the end of their sophomore year, Cody is joyful about the D- in English -- it is, after all, good enough for him to be able to play football in the fall -- Clea is totally freaked over her B in calculus.  She knows that she'll pay a heavy price for anything less than an A.  And she does.
While Cody spends the summer helping make deliveries for the local lumber yard, Clea's powerful businessman father ships her off to her uncle's home in Hong Kong, and then enrolls her in a Vermont boarding school for the fall.  Cody tries to do what he thinks is the right thing by ending his relationship with Clea.  Then, at the very end of the first football game of the season, a moment after Cody has pulled out a one-point come-from-behind win, a very dirty and very late hit on his knee results in a devastating, season-ending ACL injury that requires surgery, pain pills, and rehabilitation.  
With no girlfriend, no support, and no football, Cody quickly falls behind and then completely gives up on school.  Even a return to work for the lumber yard quickly sours...and then Cody sees a story on the front page of the newspaper that Clea has disappeared in the woods near her boarding school.  Her horse, Bud, returned to the campus barn without her.
After a sleepless night, and a terrible day of work, Cody comes home to find a somewhat cryptic letter from Clea that was mailed the same day she disappeared.  Packing a snack and some clothes, withdrawing what he can from the ATM, Cody aims his truck toward Vermont.
There are so many teens who love great thriller/mystery stories -- or would if they were lucky enough to find one.  Peter Abrahams has crafted a first-rate page-turning thriller and mystery for young adults.  Danger, disappearance, and star-crossed lovers make REALITY CHECK a perfect summer read.  

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