Mousetraps, the new YA title from author Pat Schmatz was surprisingly great. I say surprisingly only because that of all the books out there on the effects of bullying, not many are done as realistic a manner as this title. I really enjoyed most aspects of the novel, though there were a few trouble spots that I felt could have been reworked a little bit.
Maxie and Rick were friends a long time ago, coming up with inventive mousetraps that they would draw out on paper, passing the pad back and forth to create some pretty cool and creative art. The Rick disappeared after a horrifying experience, not bothering to contact Maxie anymore and leaving her always wondering what happened to him.
Fast forward to high school and Maxie has lots of friends, though she never forgot about her friendship with Rick. When he makes a reappearance back at school, she's both excited and cautious, not sure if they can really be friends again after their weird parting all those years ago. Slowly, the pair try to forge ahead with their friendship again and Rick begins confiding some of his past with Maxie...filling her in on some scary things. Rick begins to show a different side of himself and Maxie is quite sure where her loyalties lie, whether with her old friend Rick or within herself.
Mousetraps was fresh and quite enjoyable, despite the subject matter. I LOVE that the author interjected the mousetrap and cartoon drawings in between text on some pages...it was fun and really allowed me to understand both Rick and Maxie a bit more. The preachiness about bullying was kept to a minimum, not too much at all, though I do have one criticism. Towards the end (which I won't give away), something big happens. Something that I feel was unnecessary to the plot and that almost took the message overboard. I feel the story of Rick and Maxie was playing out beautifully and in a manner which teens would understand, then the we were dealt a blow that I just don't think needed to be handed to the reader. If you read this, I would love to know your opinion!
Even with the over-the-top ending, I still really enjoyed Mousetraps. I think Pat Schmatz did a great job getting into teens heads to create likable, relatable characters. I can see my teens reading this and passing it to their friends when they're finished...always a plus!
If you're interested in learning more about Mousetraps or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.