The Ring of McAllister: A Score-Raising Mystery Featuring 1,000 Must-Know SAT Vocabulary Words

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9780743235204: The Ring of McAllister: A Score-Raising Mystery Featuring 1,000 Must-Know SAT Vocabulary Words
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A PAINLESS WAY TO LEARN SAT WORDS

17-year-old Will Lassiter has lived his entire life in the peaceful comfort of Red Fork. When his new neighbor, Dr. Octavio Perez, suddenly disappears, Will uncovers a mystery that merges the present with the past -- a deadly secret that's been locked away for nearly a century. That's when things start to get really strange.

Unlike other SAT preparation books, The Ring of McAllister incorporates key SAT vocabulary right into the story. So rather than memorize lists and definitions, you learn the words in context. SAT words are defined in a glossary at the back of the book. It's a pain-free way to build your vocabulary -- and to score higher on the test!

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About the Author:

A graduate of Cornell University, Robert Marantz was a project manager for Kaplan, Inc., during which time he co-wrote the best-selling Higher Score series of test preparation software. He has also authored several screenplays and television scripts and currently makes his home among the ubiquitous palm trees of Los Angeles.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

"Pencils down."

At first, the words didn't register. Will was staring at the scar on his arm, now a glossy shade of peach, his mind too immersed in degrees, cosines, and algorithms to hear. How could Mrs. O'Leary end 10 months of mathematical torment with such a laconic request?

"Pencils down, Mr. Lassiter!"

Her command jolted Will out of his stupor. He put down the pencil, and the world around him gradually came alive. Other students shifted in their seats. Papers rustled. Passing his test booklet to the girl in front of him, Will massaged his throbbing hand and then surveyed the room.

His classmates seemed similarly dazed by the exam. They rubbed their necks, yawned, and stretched their backs. Leave it to O'Leary to drag the semester to such an excruciating end. But, at last, that's what it was. The end.

"Have a great summer. See you in September."

Mrs. O'Leary was not given to grand orations. But what she said was enough for the weary eleventh graders.

The hallway was littered with crumpled term papers and discarded pens. Overripe gym shorts fell out of lockers that lined the walls. Entire notebooks were now confetti on the floor. Will stepped out into the corridor and was immediately caught in a throng of exuberant students making a beeline toward the door.

Outside, Will felt the full force of the sun against his face, the warmth reviving his stiff body. The sun had lightened his hair over the years, and tanned his skin to a golden hue. Casting a long, thin shadow as he walked, he spotted Ty near a large maple tree.

Today, Ty had grown into a muscular athlete, no longer the small, pudgy kid of his youth. Now, nearly half a foot taller than Will, his baby fat was gone, though his round face still wore the same cherubic smile.

Standing next to Ty was Katie Watson. Will had known her since the second grade, when they'd both received awards for good citizenship: He'd painted a picture of the town from a bird's-eye view, and Katie had written an effusive essay about the importance of community spirit. When they were called up at the awards ceremony, Will's stage fright had overpowered him, and he stood stiffly, admiring Katie's carefree expression. Even now, with her curly scarlet hair and boundless energy, Katie was always in a good mood.

"How'd it go, Will?" Katie could barely contain her enthusiasm that school was finally over.

"I don't know, and I don't care."

Ty rolled his eyes. He knew better.

"I'm sure you aced it."

Will shrugged. Katie snorted impatiently and looped her hands through her friend's arms.

"What are we loitering around this place for? Let's get out of here!"

Will and Ty agreed, and Katie led them across the street to Sal's Pizzeria. Even on a hot day, the smell of fresh basil and mozzarella was too intoxicating to pass up.

Housed in an old brick storage warehouse, Sal's was the closest thing to an after-school hangout that this town had. Sal, who practically lived at the pizzeria, was a third-generation restaurateur. Visitors could glimpse his ruddy face every day of the week, adroitly tossing dough into the air or mingling with customers. A testament to the quality of his cuisine, Sal's corpulence had come from years of "sampling." It had gotten to be such a problem that he now had to suck in his gut to pass between the crowded tables. Pizza was in his blood.

Finding a secluded table in the back, the three friends attacked their pepperoni pie with gusto. Between mouthfuls, they talked about their plans for the summer.

"I'm gonna sail my butt off so I can beat my brother once and for all," Ty declared.

Will and Katie laughed. Poor Ty. He constantly vied for superiority over his older brother Ray. Every year, Ty would pick a new sport. And every year, Ray came out on top. That's not to say Ty was inept. Ray was simply the best sailor in Red Fork, as well as the best football player, tennis player, basketball player, and chess player. Where competition was involved, Ray always won.

"Don't you ever get bored sailing around that tiny lake?"

Katie sighed. "Will, don't start that again."

Will wanted to say more, but he acquiesced. Ty and Katie were his only friends, and he couldn't afford to alienate them. He knew that sooner or later, their differences would divide them. Just not today, not the beginning of summer vacation.

The trio ate in moody silence. When there was only one slice left, they all hesitated, and then simultaneously, reached for it. Their hands smashed together.

"Ty should have it," Will laughed. "He's in training."

The three friends eased back, their exchange falling into a comfortable ebb and flow. The summer was panning out in the usual fashion. When he wasn't sailing, Ty would be working at the video store adjacent to Sal's. Katie was going to help out at her parents' antique shop. And Will had lined up work as a "landscape engineer," or as Ty aptly put it, "a mower of lawns." By the time they rose to leave, the sun had crept into the western horizon.

* * *

McAllister Boulevard was the main thoroughfare in the hamlet of Red Fork, Pennsylvania. Giant oak trees lined the cobblestone street, providing perpetual shade. They were planted a hundred years earlier, back when the town was Algernon McAllister's country estate.

An industrial magnate, McAllister accrued a fortune in the late nineteenth century building steam engines for locomotives and ships. With his new-found wealth, he was able to buy a large parcel of land outside of Pittsburgh and build Red Fork. His new domain reflected his patrician tastes with its grandiose mansion and meticulously cultivated gardens.

McAllister's estate was so vast that it required its own power plant -- steam, of course. He employed a phalanx of housekeepers and gardeners, and imported a herd of stallions from the Arabian Peninsula, housing them in spacious stables. McAllister also built the largest private library in the country and his own printing press, with which he planned to publish his memoirs. Unfortunately, he never got the chance.

McAllister died on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. Though he had no heirs, he did leave a will. In it, he specified that Red Fork be split up into equal-sized lots and divided among his loyal servants. This magnanimous final gesture secured his place in history as Red Fork's progenitor and greatest citizen.

McAllister's story was part of the curriculum at McAllister Elementary School. Fourth graders wrote essays about him and his splendid gift to the town, and sixth graders presented an annual play depicting his life. To Will and his friends, it was as legendary a tale as Washington crossing the Delaware.

The three friends strolled along Tess Street until they came upon Algernon Drive. This was Will's block. Ty put his hand on Will's shoulder.

"I'm going for my license in a few weeks. Before you know it, we'll be cruising down McAl' Boulevard. This is going to be our summer."

Will's eyes lit up. "Maybe we can take a road trip -- check out the Grand Canyon or something."

"Why?" Ty stared blankly at him. "It's just a big hole in the ground."

Before Will could respond, Ty poked him in the stomach.

"Gotcha!"

Will grinned. "Good one. Remember: Green means go and red means stop, not go faster."

"You're one to talk!" Ty retorted.

Will backed down. He had taken his driving test twice already and still had only his permit. Parallel parking was the bane of his existence. Where in Red Fork would he ever need to parallel park? The one street where people had reason to go, McAllister Boulevard, had diagonal spaces.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781419542213: The Ring of McAllister: A Score-Raising Mystery Featuring 1,046 Must-Know SAT Vocabulary Words (Kaplan Test Prep)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1419542214 ISBN 13:  9781419542213
Publisher: Kaplan Publishing, 2007
Softcover

9780743265775: The Ring of McAllister: A Score-Raising Mystery Featuring 1,046 Must-Know SAT Vocabulary Words

Kaplan..., 2004
Softcover

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