Harmless - Dana Reinhardt
Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.Anna, Emma, and Mariah want to go to an older boy’s house for an informal party – the problem? They know their parents won’t let them go. Together they decide to tell their parents they are going to a movie for the evening and head to the party instead. As time does, it gets away from them and before they know it hours have passed. Realizing the movie ended a long time ago, the girls panic and check their cell phones. Of course, parents have called and are frantic with worry. The girls need a story quick or they know they’ll be in big trouble.The best friends decide to tell their parents that Emma was attacked on their way home from the movie. They didn’t get a good look at the man because it was dark and they were scared, but Anna and Mariah were able to get a rock and hit the man so Emma could get away. This is the story they tell their parents assuming they’ll be relieved and forget their anger over the girls being out too late.Anna, Emma, and Mariah couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead their parents call the police, the girls’ stories are compared, sketches are drawn, and a manhunt is underway. The town demands the attacker be captured so their town will be safe again putting more and more pressure on the police as time goes by. In the meanwhile, the girls are being fawned over because of their bravery in the face of danger. The situation spins out of control when the police arrest someone matching the description the girls provided on the night of the “attack.” The lie has taken on a life of its own and now the girls are in too deep. The pressure and guilt over the innocent man’s fate affects each girl differently, but all of them suffer from the weight of their lie. Will they ever get the nerve to tell the truth?With the three narrators it is easy for listeners to immerse themselves in the story. Point of view changes aren’t a problem as you get to know each character. Lynde Houck, Donna Rawlins, and Staci Snell do a great job of capturing the demeanor of each girl so you really understand what motivates each one to act as they do. Harmless is an important book for all young people to experience. There is no better example of how a simple lie can get completely out of control and ruin the lives of the people involved.