THE KIDNAPPING

A HUNTER & HOLMES MYSTERY

When a teenager is kidnapped and then mysteriously released, he and his best friend are determined to figure out why.

The first Hunter & Holmes Mystery quickly introduces us to its two young protagonists—straight-laced, methodical Jason Hunter and impulsive, emotional Daniel Holmes—and gets right down to business: Jason has been kidnapped, and as his parents, Daniel and his other friends slowly realize this, they contact the police and wait nervously for some progress. It comes quickly; after only a few dozen tense and well-orchestrated pages, Jason is released. He’s physically unharmed, but an angry Daniel sees that his friend’s confident personality has changed, and at Daniel’s urging, the two teens decide to solve the mystery of why Jason was kidnapped in the first place. There follows the benign clue-hunting and adult-outwitting (and two further kidnappings) that will be familiar to fans of the hobby-investigator sub-genre, all of it brightly illustrated with dozens of richly colored, manga-inspired drawings by Ricardo Carmona. The plot moves forward smoothly, and although the characters—especially the adults—speak and behave in often hilariously wooden ways, the author deploys just enough red herrings to keep even alert readers guessing until almost the last page. The mystery of Jason’s kidnapping is solved in due course, but this book has other mysteries, perhaps not so easily unraveled. Our young protagonists wear Converse All-Star “Chuck Taylor” shoes, for instance (they feature prominently in Carmona’s illustrations), and when a police detective notices this fact, he says, “I had a pair of chucks when I was your age…I see they are still considered cool today.” This book and its sequels are produced by The ChucksConnection, a subdivision of Hal Peterson Media Services, whose aim is to promote the “chucks club culture” (forceful Jason, for instance, always wears red high-top chucks, whereas rock-star rebel Daniel always wears black high-top chucks). Subtle product placement is still product placement, and that may lead some readers to wonder whether this is a mystery novel or an extended shoe commercial. Younger readers may enjoy the book’s combination of action and deduction—they’ll certainly finish it wanting a pair of Chuck Taylors, in either red or black.

 

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2008

ISBN: 978-0982101421

Page Count: 214

Publisher: Hal Peterson Media Services

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2011

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A familiar but heartfelt romance for easygoing readers.

ADORKABLE

In O’Gorman’s YA debut, two best friends try to fool people into thinking that they’re in love—and then discover a new facet of their relationship.

Sally Spitz is a frizzy-haired 17-year-old girl with a charming zeal for three things: Harry Potter (she’s a Gryffindor), Star Wars, and getting into Duke University. During her senior year of high school, she goes on a slew of miserable dates, set up by her mother and her own second-best–friend–turned-matchmaker, Lillian Hooker. Sally refuses to admit to anyone that she’s actually head over Converses in love with her longtime best friend, a boy named Baldwin Eugene Charles Kent, aka “Becks.” After a particularly awkward date, Sally devises a plan to end Lillian’s matchmaking attempts; specifically, she plans to hire someone to act as her fake boyfriend, or “F.B.F.” But before Sally can put her plan into action, a rumor circulates that Sally and Becks are already dating. Becks agrees to act as Sally’s F.B.F. in exchange for a box of Goobers and Sally’s doing his calculus homework for a month. Later, as they hold hands in the hall and “practice” make-out sessions in Becks’ bedroom, their friendship heads into unfamiliar territory. Over the course of this novel, O’Gorman presents an inviting and enjoyable account of lifelong friendship transforming into young love. Though the author’s reliance on familiar tropes may be comforting to a casual reader, it may frustrate those who may be looking for a more substantial and less predictable plot. A number of ancillary characters lack very much complexity, and the story, overall, would have benefited from an added twist or two. Even so, however, this remains a largely engaging and often endearing debut. 

A familiar but heartfelt romance for easygoing readers.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64063-759-7

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2020

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GUTS

THE TRUE STORIES BEHIND HATCHET AND THE BRIAN BOOKS

Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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