I rated this book a one star, because the kindle formatting is stellar, and is worthy of getting a star just for this.
This is the only positive thing I saw in this book. There was some potential for a good story IF it was content edited, reformulated for the right age group, and treated to some proof-reading. An editor could be a savior with regards to this book.
1. The Character voices do not ring true. Some examples: a 16 year old, making fun of his fellow football players, and adults trying to sound like twelve year olds:
"Hey dork-vomit, what took you so long?" Dillon (a 16 year old football player who is friends with the protagonist). What 16 year old talks like this? I would expect this kind of insult in my six year old's day camp.
"That's enough lip out of you, Smart mouth McGee! He didn't like Smartmouth McGees interrupting adults doing important investigative work."
"GEORGE. GEORGE, SOME OF THE BOYS TELL ME YOU'RE NOT...! YOU HAVEN'T BEEN AT ALL OF THE WORKOUTS...! WHAT'S GOING ON!?"
2. The Info dump: There is a character named Morris who spends a couple of chapters on horrific info dump on the background of Vardin Village. Truly no tween/teen/adult could possibly stay awake for it. Why dump it all on a reader within a few chapters? Good writing means spreading it around where it doesn't seem intrusive and purposeful.
3. This IS NOT A YA book: This may be a 9-12 year old book (minus a couple of drug references and a vague reference to the mother's sexual proclivity). This is not a YA book. I am a fan of said genre, and this isn't sophisticated enough for said genre or age group.
Bottom line: this book has potential, IF it tries to understand the age group it is writing for, puts some investment in content editing, and stops trying to be a YA book that it is NOT, than it may be a book worth reading.