Kirkus Reviews QR Code


From the Secret of the Storm series, volume 1

by Beth McMullen

Pub Date: March 1st, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-5344-8285-2
Publisher: Aladdin

What do black holes, the FBI, and a kitten that smells like burned plastic have in common?

They are part of the mystery middle schooler Cassie Jones and fellow public library volunteer Joe Robinson are trying to solve. In the boring town of Lewiston, California, Cassie and Joe find a miraculously unharmed black kitten in a dumpster that was struck by lightning during a freak storm. The fire-prone kitten becomes Cassie’s loyal companion as she navigates grief over her father’s death a year earlier, her mother’s overwhelming anxiety, and the bullying she receives from peers—and even at the hands of her best friend, Mia Wilson. Central to the mystery are a rainbow-haired librarian with a notebook of secrets and a professor who rants about the existence of dragons. While experienced readers may anticipate some of the reveals, there is plenty of action to keep them invested. Balancing the serious notes are the feel-good elements in this story of a girl who finds courage and true friendship after great loss. The first book in a new series, it ends with a twist that will have readers eagerly awaiting the sequel. Most characters default to White; Joe has brown skin.

Fans of fantasy adventures will find a lot to love.

(Fantasy. 8-12)