Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Friday, June 8, 2012

Plot Summary:
Wally is a rebel. In fact, she is such a rebel that she ran away from her wealthy family and decided to live on the streets of Manhattan in search of a place to sleep and find food to eat. As the new leader of her "pack," this rebel becomes a leader where her friends rely on her for everything, which, for Wally, is a great responsibility and burden. Although her friends know that she was adopted, she is not at all the spoiled little rich girl that she should be.Wally was born in Russia, but was dropped off at an orphanage.Wally enjoyed living with her bother and sisters and her adopted Babushka (grandmother) and caretaker, Mrs.Ivanoa. Babu would tell Wally all sorts about her mother, which told Wally that she had a mother and didn't need anyone else. However, after the sudden death of a former crew member, Wally is being tracked down by NYPD and the Russian syndicate. Although Wally is a runaway and petty thief, she is not at all who she seems to be; now that the notorious Russian mobster is on the lose, his target is Wally. Meanwhile, after attempting to get a new fake ID, Wally makes her way to Brighton Beach, the Little Moscow of New York, is given an envelope that contains a picture of a man, papers, and a rare stone called Alexandrite. In the same envelope is a letter from Wally's birth mother telling her that she loves her, but they may never reunite because of the bad man in the photo. For Wally, this isn't good enough and she and her crew decide to go looking for her. In their search, not only do the uncover the truth about Wally's mother, but how Wally is the key to this mystery, which leads to a series of deadly events.

Critical Evaluation:
In a classic game of cat and mouse, Richter has created a thrilling adventure for teens. For Wally, not only is she searching for herself, she is looking for her mother who has thrust her into some serious trouble. In many ways, readers will feel extremely sympathetic for Wally because not only is she in a mess, she is trying to figure out who her mother is and why she did what she did. In my mind, as I was reading this story, I feel like I have been thrown in to an elaborate Le Femme Nikitia movie where a young girl's life has suddenly taken a dark turn, but instead of working for the government, she is running from the mobsters in search of the truth. Readers are going to get a brief insight to Russian culture, including their mob, which adds the suspense that has building; Wally is in some serious trouble. I really, really enjoyed how Richter incorporated a variety of Russian rhymes and text that not only add to cultural aspect, but serve as clue into Wally's past. As Wally tries to make sense of the clues that have been given to her, we are starting to see the resilience and the power of team work as the whole crew comes together to find the truth about Wally's mom. Lastly, the fact that Wally has extensive knowledge when it comes to guns is just plain awesome. Obviously, readers will know from this fact, just how powerful and strong Wally is, which makes this whole story more exciting.

Information about the Author:
According to the book jacket of Dark Eyes:
William Harlan Richter is a Hollywood screenwriter. He was nominated for an Emmy Award as producer of  "We Stand Alone Together," the documentary episode of the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. William was born and raised in California. Dark Eyes is his first novel.

Genre:
Teen Thriller, Teen Mysteries

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to Dark Eyes:
Awards & Recognition:
  •  Starred Review Booklist (2/15/2012)

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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