The Monster Variations by Daniel Kraus
A dark coming of age tale about three boys each from very different homes. When one of the boys becomes the victim of a hit and run and loses his arm, the boys fear the big silver truck that may or may not be responsible. When a boy is hit and killed a few weeks later, the small town they reside in goes into lockdown; no one is allowed out after dark. The boys go out anyway, seeking answers. As they begin to drift further and further apart, the truck comes back to claim a final victim... and the shocking identity of the driver is revealed.
The Monster Variations was unlike any other book I've read. It was extremely dark and foreboding in tone. You get the sense that something very bad is going to happen by the end of the story. Ultimately, it does. I have recommended this book to many teens and adults over the past few months. Many assume that the book has a supernatural element because of the "Monster" in the title. People are usually surprised when the book tends to be more of a realistic small town mystery. At its core, the book is really a story about friendship. This title is very unconventional, and may be successful in drawing in reluctant teenage readers.
The Monster Variations appears on the Stuff for the Teen Age 2010 List.