Booktalk: Acceleration by Graham McNamee

I was a fan of Graham McNamee’s work ever since I read his realistic fiction novel Hate You, which is still on my top ten list of favorite YA novels of all time.  Which makes it especially frustrating that it’s been out of print for so long.

Anyway, let’s get back to Acceleration.  This is an excellent book to share with mixed groups of boys and girls.  It has a male protagonist who finds himself in the middle of a mystery and puts his own life at risk to try to solve it.  Acceleration won an Edgar Award for best young adult mystery — which reminds me that if you’re ever looking for good mysteries for all ages, the Edgar Awards website can help you find lots of great titles.


Duncan has the most boring summer job on the planet.  He’s working at the subway lost and found, sorting through dusty boxes of everything from eyeglasses to golf clubs to books.  Then one day Duncan finds a book that’s unlike all the others, because this one is a journal.  As Duncan reads it, he feels like he’s getting to know this anonymous person; like he’s really inside this guy’s head.  But the more he reads, the more frightened he becomes.  According to the journal, this man has been setting fires … and torturing and killing animals.  He also reads that this man is looking for a bigger challenge, that he’s started stalking women on the subway, and that he’s planning to murder at least one of them.

At least … that’s what’s in this guy’s head.  Who knows if it’s fact or fiction?  Duncan brings the journal to the police, but they don’t take it seriously.

Duncan can’t let this go – he doesn’t know if this book is real or fake, or if the guy wrote it last month or last year.  But the point is that it might be true, and there’s a chance that these women can still be saved.  The one thing Duncan is sure of is that this man is dangerous, and he must be stopped at all costs.

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