Bibliographic information: What Happened to Cass McBride. Gail Giles. Little, Brown and Company, 2006. $16.99. 211p. ISBN-13: 9780316166386.
Summary: Cass McBride went to bed in her pristine bedroom, but when she woke up she found herself in a small earthy box, seemingly underground. Now Cass has never been a claustrophobic person, but she is slowly discovering that being buried alive is a whole other story. Now she just has to find out why somebody would do this to her. Kyle, however, is trying to take revenge for his deceased brother by taking actions that nobody expected from him, being the popular attractive guy that he is.
Reading level and interest level: RL: Grade 9 and up IL: grade 9 and up
Review: If you’ve never felt claustrophobic then you will after reading this book. Cass McBride has been buried alive! Giles has artfully crafted a most disturbing novel that will reach the minds of its readers and make them feel what Cass is feeling. She writes with experience and it comes through in her prose. Written through the viewpoint of three separate characters: Cass, Kyle and Detective Ben, we slowly start to understand how Cass ended up buried alive. Giles characters are genuine and easy to familiarize with. This harrowing tale will wrench reader’s hearts and make them think twice about their actions. Not for the faint of heart.
Readers’ annotation: Kyle is seeking revenge for his brother and now the ever loved Cass McBride has been buried alive. Are you claustrophobic? You may be soon…
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book screams with claustrophobia, suicide, and child abuse. If any teen has to deal with these issues or similar issues in their daily lives, this book would be a great tool for them to face their problems and come to terms with the fact there they are not alone in the world and others are out experiencing the same issues.
Issues present: People may be against the suicide and the obvious discomfort of Cass being buried alive. Some may even feel strongly against the child abuse mentioned in the novel and the general violence. However, these are all issues that teens go through in their real lives and having a base tool to help them express their feelings will be helpful in getting them through their issues.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Kyle and Cass’ characters.
Use passages from pages 12-15 to describe Cass discovering being buried alive.
Genre or subject: Realistic fiction: torture, suicide, bullying
Readalikes: Thirteen Reason Why, Shattering Glass, Wish You Were Dead
Author’s website: http://www.gailgiles.com/Welcome.html
Awards: South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2009)
Reviews: Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/What-Happened-to-Cass-McBride-Gail-Giles/pid=1846914; School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-4677064.xml. Kirkus Review: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/gail-giles/what-happened-to-cass-mcbride/
Why I chose it: I have always been a fan of mysteries and I was curious about what it would be like to read about someone who was buried alive and lived through it. I just think that would be a horrible thing to live through.