TEEN LIBRARIAN'S REVIEW:
Fields, a former high school English teacher, has written an interesting, short, easy-to-read novel about a hostage standoff at a fast food restaurant in Arizona. The failed robbery at Burger Heaven is described by nine characters with nine distinct points of view: Theresa, a teen survivor of an abusive step father; Jordan, a high school overachiever wilting from the pressure applied by her parents, teachers, and basketball coach; Sara, a dippy ex-shoplifter and party girl working at Burger Heaven as part of her probation; Manuel, a smart, efficient boy who ably handles the drive-through window but doesn't believe he has what it takes to go to college; Keith, a developmentally disabled local teen; Alex, the smarmy grill man who thinks he should be a Hollywood star; Mrs. Wilkins, an elderly customer who pushes Manuel to apply to college; Joe, a shy boy, described as a "white wall" by his English class, who agrees to participate in what he believes is a fake robbery in order to impress a girl; and Dylan, the conceited mastermind behind the robbery.
"Holdup" begins the Saturday of the robbery, providing back story on each of the characters as a means of setting up their presence at Burger Heaven at the time of the robbery. Although it may seem like there are a lot of characters and points of view — and, admittedly, there are — it's pretty easy to keep track of which character is narrating which chapter. Each character has a unique voice with specialized grammar, word choice, and, of course, attitude and disposition. I particularly liked the "Confrontation" section of the story, in which the robbery is depicted solely by the characters' dialogue, like a play would be. This method gives a real sense of urgency and danger to the robbery and hostage taking, and it makes it nearly impossible for the reader to put the book down.
The story may wrap up a bit too neatly for some readers' tastes, but, for an action novel with a subtle theme about the effects of even random decisions, it's a winner. There's some mild violence, as the hostages are held at gunpoint, but, overall, this is a fairly clean and inoffensive story. Recommended for readers in middle school and higher.