Valerie Sherrard is the author of 12 previous novels for young people, including the Shelby Belgarden Mysteries, Watcher, Sarah's Legacy, Speechless, and her first historical novel, Three Million Acres of Flame. Her work has been shortlisted for numerous Canadian awards, including the Red Maple, White Pine, and Arthur Ellis Awards. She lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick.
Short-listed for the Forest of Reading Red Maple Award, 2012
Before you judge me, there are two things you should know about why I did it.
Shana Tremain is a good kid. She knows right from wrong and sheâ€™s never been in any serious trouble. But when her best friend, Carrie, comes to her for help, Shana agrees to break the law to save Carrie from a molester. She even feels good about it for a while.
Then trouble starts. Someone in their group of friends is stealing from the others. As she searches for the truth, Shana uncovers evidence that raises a terrifying question: Has she made a horrible mistake?
Faced with the reality of what sheâ€™s done, Shana finds herself trapped in a web of her own lies and deceit. Can she convince the right people that sheâ€™s telling the truth now? Either way itâ€™s clear someone is going to pay a terrible price for her crime.
Testify is a solid thriller and mystery story with definite "true crime" aspects, but it manages to hold the reader's attention without resorting to violence of any kind. Readers will be rooting for Shana to figure out how Carrie manages to always come out on top and will be quivering with intensity, eagerly flipping the pages to find out what happens next.
Some of the situations are a bit over the top but in the style of psychological thriller. Carrie is brilliantly manipulative and manages to convince most everyone that she is a victim.
Sherrard generally does a great job of creating a sense of intrigue and mystery while capturing the tone of modern adolescents interactions and their desperate need to be accepted into a group.
Sherrard gets so much right in the novel's tone and in the girl's chemistry that its impossible not to buy into her thoroughly modern take on teenage vigilante justice.