Genre: Mystery, YA
Publication date: January 21st 2014
Nick Pearson is hiding in plain sight…
My name isn’t really Nick Pearson.
I shouldn’t tell you where I’m from or why my family moved to Stepton, Virginia.
I shouldn’t tell you who I really am, or my hair, eye, and skin color.
And I definitely shouldn’t tell you about my friend Eli Cruz and the major conspiracy he was about to uncover when he died—right after I moved to town. About how I had to choose between solving his murder with his hot sister, Reya, and “staying low-key” like the Program has taught me. About how moving to Stepon changed my life forever.
But I’m going to.
-A copy was provided by HarperCollins for review-
The synopsis for this book is one that I actually took the time to read, I know, shocking right? The mysterious vibe it gave off immediately had me hooked and I had to get the book off Edelweiss to find out exactly what is going on in this boy who calls himself Nick Pearson’s life. After diving in I was sucked into and intrigued by the twisted web that is weaved involving the Witness Protection Program (WitSec) and the ties this family has to the mob. While it didn’t fail to keep me entertained it did fail to provide much substance to any of the characters to lead me to actually care about their well being.
We meet Nick on his first day of high school in a new town called Stepton. Things get off to a rocky start when he bumps into a gorgeous girl and then proceeds to get roughed up by her ex boyfriend. There to save the day is the boy who works on the school newspaper, Eli. Once Nick and Eli strike up a friendship it becomes clear that Eli is doing some intense journalistic research not meant for the school paper. There is no shortage of mystery and twists in Fake ID, from nearly the first chapter we find out that Stepton isn’t the happy, perfect town it seems to be. I liked how there were layers to the mystery and I can honestly say that I didn’t peg the bad guy until he was revealed, which is always very exciting with these kinds of books. There are little strings connecting people in the novel and each connection managed to take me by surprise.
The problem with the people in the novel is that there just isn’t enough character development to propel them to be people that I care about. Even Nick was someone that I never truly gave a darn about. He comes across as pretty selfish and I knew that he cared about his mom but that was only because I was told that. He never actually did anything to enforce this love. He lied to her on multiple occasions and wasn’t really there for her even though he knew how unhappy she was in their new living situation. Eli was the one character that I could have seen myself connecting to but he doesn’t last long in the novel (this is not a spoiler, Nick tells us he dies in the very first chapter.) Also making appearances in the novel is the high school badass, Zach. He just so happens to be the ex boyfriend of the girl Nick falls for and he is so stereotypically bad that he felt very fake. There was no lightness to this guy at all he was just bad, bad, bad leading me to not believe him at all.
As I’m sure you can guess from the previous points in this review there is a romance to be had here as well. Nick is smitten with Reya from very early on in the novel. He ends up having an in with her because she also happens to be Eli’s sister. Aside from a few make out sessions and some investigative work these two didn’t really have much going on. Nick really shows his selfish side when he comes up to Reya who is hugging her injured mother on the road and he actually leaves. Yeah that’s true love for you folks!
If you are looking for a book that is a quick, passive read that manages to keep you guessing than this could be one for you. But if you are looking for a mystery with depth I’d say you are going to have to look elsewhere.