Enjoyable brainteaser with a period flavor.

THE DARK LADY

From the Sherlock, Lupin & Me series , Vol. 1

In this charming mystery/adventure mashup set in 1870, the boy Sherlock Holmes and two equally fictional friends, Irene Adler and Arsène Lupin, solve a puzzle involving a dead burglar and a stolen necklace.

Twelve-year-old Irene, far too adventurous and wild for a young lady of her station, is vacationing in the seaside resort of Saint-Malo with her stiff, disapproving mother and the family butler, Mr. Horatio Nelson. Despite his proper demeanor, Mr. Nelson is perceptive, unpredictable and surprisingly fond of his young charge. Irene, who narrates the story, immediately takes to Sherlock and Arsène—the three, although neatly differentiated, are well-matched in terms of determination, imagination and intelligence—and the story kicks into gear when they find a dead body washed up on the beach. The rest of this fast-paced, old-fashioned puzzler concerns their investigation: Who is this person, was his death murder or suicide, and is his demise connected in any way with the burglary of Lady Martigny’s diamond necklace and the so-called Rooftop Thief? Although there’s suspense, jeopardy and fisticuffs, the tone of this ingenious tale is coolly stimulating—it does a particularly deft job of explaining to young readers the importance of each revelation and how it fits into the larger picture—and will engage on an intellectual rather than an emotional level.

Enjoyable brainteaser with a period flavor. (Fiction. 8-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62370-040-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...

HOLES

Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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Rich, naturalistic details will delight lovers of marine life.

ODDER

A Monterey Bay sea otter comes of age.

Odder’s mom told her to stay away from sharks, humans, and anything else she didn’t understand, but after saving her friend Kairi from a shark attack, she encounters all three. Injured herself during the rescue, Odder ends up recuperating at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, or Highwater as the otters call it, where she once lived as a young orphaned pup. Last time, the humans helped her reintegrate into the wild, but because of her injuries this time the outcome might be different. Soon Kairi is there too, stricken with “the shaking sickness” and having lost her newborn pup. Now Kairi is fostering a new pup, and soon one is introduced to an initially reluctant Odder in hopes that she will help raise it so it can return to the wild. The free verse effortlessly weaves in scientific information, giving Odder a voice without overly anthropomorphizing any of the animals. The natural appeal of sea otters will draw readers in, but the book doesn’t shy away from real-world threats such as predators, disease, and pollution. Loosely based on the stories of real sea otters rehabilitated at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, this novel will give readers lots to talk about, but uneven pacing and a rushed ending may leave some unsatisfied. Charming black-and-white spot art captures the world and life of the sea.

Rich, naturalistic details will delight lovers of marine life. (glossary, author’s note, bibliography, resources) (Verse novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-14742-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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