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Time Bomb
Cover of Time Bomb
Time Bomb

Seven students trapped in their school after a bomb goes off must fight to survive while also discovering who among them is the bomber in this provocative new thriller from the author of the New York Times bestselling Testing Trilogy. Perfect for fans of This Is Where It Ends.

Seven students trapped in their school after a bomb goes off must fight to survive while also discovering who among them is the bomber in this provocative new thriller from the author of the New York Times bestselling Testing Trilogy. Perfect for fans of This Is Where It Ends.

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  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2018

    Gr 8 Up-Six students struggle to survive after a series of bombs explode and trap them in the war zone-like ruins of their high school. Featuring multiple perspectives, this riveting thriller explores the power of prejudice and assumptions through the lens of school violence. It's revealed early on that one of the survivors is also involved in the bombing. From the school's perfect Queen Bee to the tough-as-nails delinquent, each of the students has a different motive for being at school that day. Charbonneau builds suspense by subtly planting red herrings about the accomplice's identity while also raising questions about others. The frequent shifts in perspective allow readers to see beyond each character's stock exterior. While each one has a distinct voice, some narratives are more compelling than others. The most complex and developed character is Rashid, a Muslim teenager who feels he must compromise his family's ideals in order to make his school life easier. Other students are immediately suspicious of Rashid after the initial bomb. While the book confronts this racism head-on and another character is ultimately responsible, the narrative feels stereotypical and exploitative in its casting of Rashid as a would-be terrorist based on his race and religion alone. VERDICT A tense, fast-paced thriller that explores prejudice and stereotypes, sometimes insensitively, in the all-too-real setting of extreme violence at a high school.-Sophie Kenney, Vernon Area Public Library District, IL

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2017
    When a suburban high school is devastated by a bombing, a diverse group of teens gathers to find a way out. Minor connections pre-exist among the group: biracial (black/white) Tad is on the football team with the popular Frankie, a white boy, and the pair may be a little more than just friends. Latino Z has been pegged as the class ne'er-do-well; Palestinian-American Rashid, an observant Muslim, feels extra conspicuous now that his beard has started growing. Of course, everyone knows the white daughter of a U.S. senator, the perfectly popular Diana. The wildcard is olive-skinned Cassandra, the new kid in school. When word reaches the gang that the bomber may still be inside the building, tensions rise and the small bonds just being forged threaten to disintegrate. The third-person perspective shifts chapter to chapter, letting readers into each of the character's heads. Some of the characters are fuller than others (Z is frustratingly thin), but through their eyes the author lays out the geography of the school before the bombing and smartly paces the aftermath. Charbonneau makes the bold move of letting readers--though not all the characters--know who the bomber is right away. This pivots the suspense from a whodunit to a survival tale, and the author effectively charts the action, taking time to allow the kids to discuss current events and the perils of false assumptions.A keenly crafted thriller. (Thriller. 12-16)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 8, 2018
    In a terrifying, timely thriller, six teens work together to survive after becoming trapped in their school following a bombing. Each member of the diverse group—congressman’s daughter Diana, biracial and newly out Tad, star athlete Frankie, socially awkward musician Cas, rebellious Z, and Rashid, who wants to be seen as more than just Muslim—has a personal reason for being at school before the semester starts, and it soon becomes clear that one of them is the bomber. Fragile alliances are formed and secrets are revealed, but distrust and paranoia undermine the group’s efforts to escape an increasingly deadly situation. In her attempt to maintain ambiguity and mystery regarding the bomber’s identity, Charbonneau (Need) withholds a great deal from readers at first, keeping characters’ motivations a mystery even when it doesn’t make sense to avoid them. However, the high-pressure environment, increasing tension, and enormous stakes make this a gripping story that touches on numerous stressors facing contemporary teens, including suicidal ideation, parental pressure to succeed, and religious profiling. It’s a powerful page-turner that doesn’t let up until its explosive finale. Ages 12–up. Agent: Stacia Decker, Dunow, Carlson and Lerner.

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Time Bomb
Joelle Charbonneau
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