52 pages 1 hour read

Lamar Giles

Fake ID

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2014

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Important Quotes

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“A mystery. I was happy to take the case. [...] I was so happy that I forgot about the guy with the camera. […] So happy I didn’t see the four guys following me into the deserted locker room. […] Happy has a short battery life in my world.”

(Chapter 1, Pages 4-5)

Giles uses these lapses in focus to demonstrate Nick’s extreme vigilance, to which he has become accustomed over his four years in WITSEC, and the degree to which Reya distracts him. The conversation with Reya starts two plot threads: Nick’s feud with Zach and his friendship with Eli.

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“The government has spent a lot of money protecting you and your family over the last four years, James. We’d like to see a return on that investment. But we are willing to cut our losses if you continue to be a problem. I can read you some information on what life is like for an unprotected federal witness. It’s a short paragraph.”

(Chapter 4, Page 23)

In their weekly phone conversation, Bertram, the WITSEC handler for Nick’s family, expresses the government’s frustration with the illegal behavior of James, which has resulted in WITSEC repeatedly having to move the family to different locations. Bertram warns that any further misbehavior will cause them to be removed from the protection program, jeopardizing their lives. Giles uses this to increase the tension of Nick’s already unstable circumstances and to raise the novel’s stakes.

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“The Pearsons were the victims of an auto industry layoff in Detroit. We moved to Virginia because the cost of living was cheaper than up north. Dad, he’s good with numbers, so they got him a job at a local accounting office. Mom worked as a Realtor at our last assignment, but they made her a housewife here. Me? My legend says I’m an average teen who likes to play lacrosse, is an overachiever when it comes to science, and enjoys hip music.”

(Chapter 5, Page 27)

Nick relates that each move to a new community means learning a new “legend,” or false backstory meant to sound believable to new acquaintances. When Reya discovers the great influx of WITSEC families into Stepton, she remarks that witness-protection youth will be easy to spot because their stories are too good to be true. Giles uses this comment to reinforce that everyone is Concealing Dark Secrets.