REALITY CHECK. By Peter Abrahams. HarperTeen, April, 2009. 336 pages Hardcover $16.99

If you can get past the not so germane title, Peter Abrahams’ Reality Check can be a spine-tingling teen thriller you won’t put down. Witty and clever, the novel secures Abrahams’ mastery over effortless storytelling, while taking the reader on wild goose chase that is both intuitive and startling.

The novel displays Abrahams’ innovative imagination and his superior attention to detail as it follows in the steps of Cody, a soon-to-be high school graduate who seems to have more going for him than he ever expected. Having risen from his destructive home life to becoming a football star attracting big time scouts, and dating the hottest (not to mention richest) girl in town, nothing seems to stand in the way of a perfect senior year. Suddenly, as the title so candidly suggests, Cody is hit with a reality check, as a series of inconveniences stall his joy ride. Worst of them all is the kidnapping of his longtime sweetheart from a high-end prep school in the wilderness of Vermont. Tired of watching the newscasts of his lost love, Cody makes the trip from Colorado to Vermont to check the scene for himself.

Though at times the novel can be a bit tawdry for the critical eye, it nevertheless accomplishes its duty. If Abrahams left his character running slightly in the flatter side, he makes up for it with astute plot, cleverly crafted twists and turns and plenty of suspense.