What Happened to Cass McBride? is one of my top five favorite booktalks EVER. This booktalk paints a word picture of one of the most suspenseful scenes of this book, and even teens who have been distracted or bored during the earlier part of the presentation will sit up and pay attention to this story. Whenever I booktalk this title, I am swarmed by an equal number of boys and girls who want to know what happens next. Check out Gail Giles’ website to learn more about one of young adult literature’s most prolific and popular authors.
Cass McBride wakes up feeling groggy and confused. It’s pitch dark, she can’t see anything, and it’s hard for her to move. When she tries to stretch out, she realizes that she’s surrounded on all sides by what feels like wood. Like she’s in a crate … or a coffin. For a while, she screams and cries and beats on the wooden box with her hands and feet until they bleed. It’s only after she quiets down that she hears someone walking around … somewhere above her. Someone who’s been waiting for her to wake up. Someone who could have killed her quickly, but didn’t. Someone who drugged and kidnapped her instead, and then buried her alive in a wooden box. Cass doesn’t know what time it is, what day it is, or where she is. She doesn’t know who did this to her, or more importantly WHY. Very soon, Cass is going to find out the answers to her questions. And the truth is even worse than she imagined.