Jessica Rose’s Review:
Code of Silence is the first book of the “Code of Silence series” of three books. It is a very intriguing book that has chapters which leave you hanging at the end. After reading it, I tried to get my cousin to read it for two whole years. Then I used the book’s secret. Once when she came to my house, I asked her to read the first chapter and I wouldn’t ever ask her to read it again. Sure enough she wasn’t able to put the book down.
The book is about three friends in 8th grade who are suddenly faced with intense danger. Cooper MacKinnon is the leader (also the main character). Gordon Digby – aka Gordy, is the funny one, the peacemaker and Cooper’s cousin, and Hiroko Yakimoto (aka Hiro) is the brains of the group. One ordinary Thursday evening the three friends are in ordinary restaurant owned by Frank Mustacci who seems more like a grandpa than a business owner. They witness some crooks robbing the poor business owner, who doesn’t use a bank. Suddenly, they are faced with a life-or-death situation. They are sure it is curtains for Frank Mustacci and more likely them too.
While escaping, one of the criminals catches up to Cooper and gets his house keys. Cooper, who grabbed the hard drive to protect him and his friends from being discovered is threatened by the crook who promises to find him. The friends form a pact and promise not to tell anyone about what they saw, not even the police – because two of the crooks wore cop clothes. However, Cooper, left his backpack in the diner and the police know there was a witness and are determined to find him. The backpack pins the witness to an 8th grade boy in Plum Grove Junior High.
Cooper is starting to think that the “Code of Silence” isn’t really a good idea when it starts breaking up their friendship. A few days later, Frank is coming out of his coma and is in more danger than before because he guessed who the person is that betrayed Frank. With their parents away and the cops still suspect, will they be able to save Frank’s life?
The Code of Silence shows that “living a lie comes with a price.” Cooper, Gordy, and Hiro have to decide to tell the truth or keep the lie. “Telling the truth could get them killed. Remaining silent could be worse.”
Recommended age: Nine and up
Re-readability: Most definitely re-readable!
Bonita Jewel’s Review:
An evening at Frank ‘n’ Stein’s diner doing homework and playing video games turns into a nightmare when junior high friends Cooper, Hiro and Gordy witness a violent act. The diner owner, Frank Mustacci is left for dead, and Cooper escapes with proof of the act, but when one of the criminals grabs his house key and threatens him unless he returns the proof, Cooper has a single plan: Keep quiet until the three friends find their way out of the dangerous mess.
But their “Code of Silence” seems to be doing more harm than good. They don’t know who to trust or where to turn. Everyone looks suspicious. The solid friendship between the three starts tearing at the seams. Cooper starts to feel like he’s the one being pursued rather than the robbers. His final plan might save them all … or get him killed.
Author Tim Shoemaker knows just how to get a reader hooked at the beginning by combining a powerful plot with crazy-real characters, and heaping on the conflict in every chapter. Every page, it seems. When my daughter and I first read Code of Silence together, we stayed up for hours every night until we had finished the book because neither of us wanted to stop reading.
Recommended age: 10 +
Re-readability: I plan to reread the series in the upcoming year, this time with my 10-year-old son.
Note for parents: This would be a great book to read together with your child, as it touches on real-life concepts such as honesty, knowing when to keep quiet, friendship, and trust versus mistrust. The author added some questions for reflection at the end of the book, which could serve as good conversation starters.