Monday, August 6, 2012

Death by Bikini

Bibliographic Information: Gerber, L.  (2008). Death by bikini.  New York: Sleuth. 
ISBN: 978-0329066220-2

Plot Summary: Aphra Connolly had no choice in her father's decision to move them to a remote volcanic island four years earlier. Far from her prior home in South Carolina, Aphra spends her time assisting her father at their beachside resort and swimming in the ocean. Everything suddenly changes when a mysterious family appears on the island, a dead body washes up on the shore, and Aphra realizes that not everyone is what they seem.

Critical Evaluation: The setting, a distant volcanic island, plays a great role in Death by Bikini. The characters are enveloped by elements of the wild ocean, the untamed tropical wilderness, and secluded destinations around the island that carry along the suspense of the plotline. It's this element of the unknown that carries forward the first unsolved murder and adds a sense of abandoned foreboding to the overall storyline. This aspect, along with a climactic thunderhead, function almost like soundtrack cues that indicate to the reader what they should be feeling at that point in the narrative. It is also the surroundings that dictate the mood and state of mind of each of the characters. The "Smith Family," the island celebrities, and even Aphra's father feel like the secluded island may actually function as a haven and act accordingly. Aphra, on the other hand, feels both soothed and imprisoned by the surrounding presence of the ocean and the isolation that it imposes on her life. To Aphra, the ocean symbolizes the many miles between her and her past life in South Carolina; a thought that isn't very comforting. The setting continues to change and develop similarly to each character. The setting in the end may be one of the biggest players of the story; constantly indicating where the plot and characters are going

Reader’s Annotation:
Aphra's island life is suddenly turned upside down by a bikini, the appearance of a secretive family, and dangerous figures that suddenly lurk throughout the island.
Information About the Author: Linda Gerber has always had three passions in life: books, writing, and traveling (Gerber: Bio, 2012). Gerber has spent so much traveling that it took her a little longer to graduate college since she was always going somewhere new (Gerber: Bio, 2012). To date she has traveled and/or lived in the following cities and countries: Utah, California, Arizona, Ohio, Michigan, Washington, D. C., Finland, Japan, Europe, Asia, Mexico, Australia, Hawaii, and Micronesia (Gerber: Bio, 2012). Gerber currently lives in Ohio (Gerber: Bio, 2012). A few things Gerber enjoys: sushi, spending time with her family, and classic rock (Gerber: Bio, 2012).

Some other books Linda Gerber has written: Lights, Camera, Cassidy series, Trance, Death by Denim, Death by Latte, The Finnish Line: Students Across the Seven Seas (Gerber: Books, 2012)

To learn more about Linda Gerber visit:  

Genre: Mystery, Horror, and Suspense, Romance, Adventure

Murder Mystery
Curriculum Ties: N/A
Booktalking Ideas:

1). Did Aphra's father make the right decision in hiding the letters that Aphra's mother sent her?
2). Is Aphra old enough to understand the importance of keeping secrets?   

Reading Level/Interest Age: Lexile Reading Level: 640/YA (Follett's Titlewave, 2012)

Challenge Issues: Includes murder, violence, and some strong language. I would use the following items to defend this book if it was ever challenged:

1) Refer to Library Bill of Rights, see items: I, II, and III (
2) Refer to San Diego Public Library collection policy - (  Original site: The American Library Association (ALA) Freedom to Read/View Statement (
3) Refer to California School Library Association (CSLA), Model School Library Standards - September 2010 ( PDF: (
4) Refer t0 American Association for School, Librarians Standards for the 21st Century Learner (
5) Contact Office of Intellectual Freedom for any further support, 800-545-2433, ext. 4223 or
6) Refer to legitimate book reviews, such as: School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book and others; found on either Academic Search Premier, Follett's TITLEWAVE, or

Why did you include this book in the titles you selected?:
I included this book because it offers mystery lovers a great case to solve. Teens will also enjoy the 16 year old protagonist, Aphra, as she works to figure out what is going on around the island.

Reference Page:

Follett's Titlewave.  (2012).  Death by bikini. Retrieved August 9, 2012 from the Follett's Titlewave iPhone app.

Gerber, L.  (2012).  Bio.  Retrieved August 9. 2012 from

Gerber, L.  (2012).  Books.  Retrieved August 9. 2012 from

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