WICKED WILL by Bailey MacDonald


Age Range: 8 - 11
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Some nearly threadbare tropes hold together this fast-paced mystery for middle schoolers, only fraying completely at the end. Will Shakespeare at 12 is irrepressible, full of words and perhaps a little ADHD. His foil is Tom, a member of a group of players, except that Tom is really Viola, living in disguise with her uncle’s troupe as her parents are in hiding for helping a Catholic priest escape the Crown. Tom/Viola’s uncle and his players come to Stratford-on-Avon, where he is almost immediately accused of murder when a local curmudgeon is bludgeoned to death with the uncle’s walking stick. Will, with the unwilling assistance of Tom/Viola, seeks to solve the crime, full of words and scheming and hijinks. The townsfolk spout lines that ring suspiciously familiar, a melodramatic plot twist involving the twin sons of the local curmudgeon ends in a drowning and suicide (offstage) and everyone seems to figure out that Tom is really Viola. Lively and quick, it may offer some small amusement to readers not quite ready for King of Shadows. (Historical fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 23rd, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4169-8660-7
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Aladdin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2009