Rat Life by Tedd Arnold This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 13, 2011
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Todd, age fourteen, has been interested in the river of his hometown in New York for years.  So it seems natural that when a dead body of an unidentified man is found in the river, Todd wants to know what happened. And slowly, the events that make up the plot of Tedd Arnold’s Rat Life are built up.  He meets a boy a few years older than himself who goes by the nickname Rat, who was drafted into the military on his 14th birthday when hiding from his abusive father.  After an exciting sequence of events, Todd discovers clues of who the body found in the river belonged too, and the identity of the killer.  Will Todd be able to confirm the clues as answers to the mystery, or more importantly, live through a freak act of nature?
    Tedd Arnold writes in a complex style which combines Todd's dealing with his school work, social life, and the murder mystery at the same time while making the reader want to read on to find out what twists and turns in the story will appear next, and ultimately the solution to the series of events that make up Rat Life. Arnold does a excellent job at capturing the readers interest with an ongoing series of events that lead to suspense and anticipation of how the problems and mysteries encountered by the characters are solved.  The first person view used throughout the book helps to add a sense of mystery to the plot and greatly enhances the story by restricting the reader to know only certain elements of the events, so as to not give away the solution right away.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading a mystery or realistic fiction novel, although most readers will find this book hard to put down regardless of what genres hold their interest.

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