Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hacker (series: Cap Central, book 3)

McGill, Leslie.  Hacker  (series: Cap Central, book 3)      Saddleback  2014  141p  $9.95  ISBN 978-1-62250-707-8  ms/hs  Conflict, Hi-Lo  VG 

Cap Central High School is a typical inner-city high school.  In this, the third in the series about Cap Central students, Keshawn learns about an ID- and password-stealing software package, and he installs it on school-library computers just to see how other students are doing in their coursework. But his abilities as a hacker become known to ruthless athletes who blackmail him into changing their grades so they will stay eligible to play sports. He befriends Neecy, who needs help to improve her math scores. Unfortunately, one of his blackmailers has his heart set on having Neecy as a girlfriend.  The conflict escalates until the school administration finds out about the hacking.  Keshawn manages to save his reputation by being one step ahead of his blackmailers and ends up bringing them down through their own e-mail accounts.  Neecy ends up with a love interest, thanks to Keshawn, and Keshawn shows his honorable side by the end of the novel.

The hi/lo appeal for those struggling with reading is that the topic is timely and believable.  Characters overlap from one book to the next in the Cap Central series, leading the reader to become familiar with the many different characters and the difficulties they face while trying to get an education in a sometimes violent and threatening environment.  The problems faced by the students are believable and of interest to teenagers.     

Summary: A students asks Keshawn to change grades in the school’s computer.  This one-time effort mushrooms as he is blackmailed into using his hacking skills to change grades for several athletes, and Keshawn must reconcile his abilities with his ethics. Gr 7-12.    

High school life-Fiction, Computer Hacking-Fiction          --Lois McNicol

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