Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review: Nickel Plated by Aric Davis

Nickel Plated
Author: Aric Davis
Publication: AmazonEncore (March 22, 2011)

Description: Nickel is a survivor. He has to be. For as long as he can remember, his life has hinged on the flip of a coin. Or, rather, the scribble of a social worker’s pen. He’s been through the system, even had a good dad for a few years, until he was gone, too. But Nickel remembers everything he taught him, and since the day he escaped from foster-care hell, he’s put that knowledge to good use. Just twelve years old, he makes a steady living by selling marijuana to high schoolers, blackmailing pedophiles he ferrets out online, and working as a private investigator. 

When a beautiful girl named Arrow hires him to find her little sister Shelby, Nickel figures at best the kid’s a runaway; at worst, some perv’s gotten a hold of her. He scours the internet and the streets of Arrow’s suburban neighborhood, and what he finds there is as ugly a truth as he’s ever seen. For beyond the manicured lawns, Nickel discovers children for sale, and adults with souls black as the devil. And people like that aren’t about to let some kid ruin their game. 

This edgy thriller introduces a canny, precocious anti-hero, the likes of which young-adult readers have never seen. 

My Thoughts: I thought this was a great story. I fell in love with Nickel from the first moment I met him. He is truly a hero for today's world. Nickel is a survivor who triumphed over a horrible foster home situation. He is living on his own at age twelve and surviving just fine around the edges of the normal world.

He grows pot and blackmails internet perverts for money. But, really, what else can a twelve year old do for money? He also does some private investigation work. Being a kid is often an asset because kids are often overlooked. If a kid needs him, he works for free. Arrow comes to him because her 11-year-old sister Shelby is missing. Nickel takes the case and is quickly involved in a nasty situation where kids are for sale and the adults are villains of the blackest sort. 

I liked the way Nickel managed to arrange his life. I liked that he did have friends but that even his friends knew very little about him. I did keep having to remind myself that he was twelve though. He is very articulate and has a great sense of survival. 

This was one book that I couldn't put down that has some lessons for a lot of kids. I look forward to sharing it with my high school students who want to read about the gritty side of life. 

Favorite Quote:
It was getting cold out, winter sending out tendrils of its coming storm. Winter doesn't bother me, neither do summer or spring. Fall weather, though, weather like this, I hate it. If spring is birth, summer is life, and winter is death, then the fall is dying. The world fades around you, exploding with red and orange colors before wasting to nothing. The snow I can deal with, but watching the world around me die and get swept up terrifies me in ways that I can't explain.
I got this book for review from Amazon as a part of the Amazon Vine program. You can get the paperback or the Kindle version there. 


  1. Going to add this to my list. I'm always looking for male protagonist novels to recommend to my 7th grade boys.


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