Thursday, January 31, 2013

ARC Review: The Last Station Master by S.A.M. Posey

The Last Station Master: A Boy, A Terrorist, A Secret, and Trouble
Author: S.A.M. Posey
Publication: Key Publishing House Inc (February 1, 2013)

Description: On his grandparents remote North Carolina farm for the summer, Nate discovers there's more happening on the rambling property than anyone realizes. To stop a terrorist's plot and prevent a military disaster, he must unravel the clues around him and use what he learns about the farm, the Underground Railroad, and the lost secrets of an old ghost to become the Last Station Master.

My Thoughts: We first meet our hero fifteen-year-old Nate Daniels when he and and friend are pulled over by the police for joy-riding in a neighbor's car. His parents are rightfully upset with his irresponsibility and decide to send him to spend the summer with his grandparents in rural North Carolina. Nate is expecting to spend a boring summer. He isn't expecting terrorists and a family mystery.

When Nate flies down from Boston, his plane is detained and searched by Homeland Security. A suspected terrorist is on-board. Nate and a couple of other kids are released to the custody of those waiting for them. Nate gets home and finds that someone has slipped a USB into the pocket of his hoodie. He also finds that the farm that has been in his family since before the Civil War is an antebellum mansion complete with a ghost and a mystery. Was his ancestor a black slave-owner or was he secretly a stop on the Underground Railroad?

When the terrorist, who convinces Nate that he is really an undercover agent who has information about a traitor in our government, comes to Nate to retrieve his flash drive, Nate believes him and decides to help him get to the Pentagon. He enlists his two new friends from the airplane—fifteen-year-old twins Hannah and Will—to help him. They are children of a soldier who died fighting the Taliban.

The story is filled with exciting scenes as Nate has an encounter with a bear, searches for secret passages in his house, and has to elude the army and Homeland Security as they search for Abdi. I think that middle graders will like the excitement and will like the friendships and tentative romance in this story. The characters are well-written and likable. Nate begins the story a little spoiled and convinced that charm will get him out of any trouble but he has a good heart and courage too. I liked his relationship with his grandparents who have secrets of their own.

I recommend this fast-paced story for mystery and adventure lovers who will also learn a little history as they read this exciting story.

Favorite Quote:
Dad walked the detective to the door and then returned and dropped into an armchair, studying him without saying a word. On the flip side, Mom transformed into a Tasmanian devil. 

"Nathan Freedman Daniels!" She put a hand on her hip and shifted her weight to one foot. "You stole a car? Are you insane?"

He shot a HELP look to Dad because Tasmanian devils often ate their young.
I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. This is her debut book.  You can buy a copy here.

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