Dark Eyes
by Richter, William

Adopted from a Russian orphanage by a wealthy New York family then growing into a rebellious street youth, 15-year-old Wally resolves to find the birth mother who stole a fortune from her murderous, dark-eyed father. By the Emmy Award-nominated producer of the Band of Brothers documentary, "We Stand Alone Together."

William Harlan Richter is a Hollywood screenwriter. He was nominated for an Emmy Award as producer of "We Stand Alone Together," the documentary episode of the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. William was born and raised in California.

*Starred Review* Angry and disillusioned, yet loved and privileged, 16-year-old Wallis Stoneman is living on the street. While Wally has always known that she was adopted from a Russian orphanage, she has recently stumbled upon an envelope of information suggesting not only that her biological mother is alive but also nearby, and Wally is determined to find her. Armed with survival skills, Wally and her "street family" fight not just to find Yalena Mayakova (her mother) but also for their very lives. Hollywood screenwriter Richter has entered the YA market with a bang. Riffing on his cinematic understanding of how setting and pacing can drive characters' thoughts and actions, and his talent for scattering clues that lead readers to off-base conclusions, Richter has created a hardscrabble, violent world that is juxtaposed with Wally's other world of wealth and serenity. The dichotomy between the adults that Wally and her crew interact with on the street and those from her nonstreet life is stark as well. This novel is not for the faint of heart. Its violence, complex characters, and international espionage are similar to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2008) but without the sexual violence or innuendo. The conclusion is realistic, sad, and violent, but it is somewhat upbeat only because Wally is. Let's hope we see more of her and author Richter soon. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

A drop-dead-gorgeous heroine, evil dudes with guns and a perilous race through the streets of New York City make for a page-turning read. When sassy, streetwise runaway Wally (née Valentina) Stoneman's fake ID is lost as a result of the brutal murder of a friend, she comes face to face with the mystery of her lost Russian heritage, her missing mother and priceless jewels that have ruthless thugs chasing her up and down the streets of Manhattan. Richter is a screenwriter, and the pages of his first novel for teens turn quickly. Readers will feel as though they are watching a fast-paced action movie, with its multitude of daring escapes, witty one-liners, touch of passion and slew of dead bodies. The characterizations feel more stereotypical than original, but it works. Readers will recognize many of them: the beautiful heroine, the do-gooder cop, the bad boy, the slimy murderer and his sidekick. Action takes precedence over literary quality, but the chase sequences are so slickly written that readers will most likely not notice the novel's staccato sentence structure and wooden dialogue, or they'll forgive it anyway. What they will notice is Richter's scenically keen sense of New York City geography as Wally and her cadre race back from Coney Island to SoHo to the Upper West Side fleeing for their lives. Full of thrills and screaming for a sequel. (Thriller. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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