Only mildly suspenseful, but between the mystery and familiar friendship problems, amusing enough to sustain interest.

A SIDE OF SABOTAGE

From the Quinnie Boyd Mystery series , Vol. 3

Back for another outing after Vampires on the Run (2017), Quinnie and her young teen friends of Maiden Rock, Maine (a stereotypical middle-class village that tourists might imagine), get caught up in another mild mystery.

Quinnie’s BFF, Zoe, is back from two years in Scotland and is finding it hard to slip back into the old routine. Meanwhile Quinnie’s favorite boy buddy is just packing up to move back to New Jersey and new friend Ella is facing the challenge of finding her place with (or between) Zoe and Quinnie. On top of all that, a fancy chef has just opened a new restaurant in town that’s sure to provide competition for Quinnie’s father’s more modest but tried-and-true eatery, Gusty’s. With the newspaper’s Secret Diner set to pick a favorite between the two, someone begins to sabotage Gusty’s. Quinnie and her pals set out to discover the perpetrator using surveillance and good problem-solving skills, along with a bit of breaking and entering that gets them all in trouble. Plenty of red herrings will keep readers guessing until the climax. No one is described, but the white default probably prevails. An incomplete resolution of the gang’s immature relationship issues provides fodder for the next tale.

Only mildly suspenseful, but between the mystery and familiar friendship problems, amusing enough to sustain interest. (Mystery. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5124-4836-8

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Readers may find they never want to leave Tupelo Landing.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Honor Book

THREE TIMES LUCKY

From the Mo & Dale Mysteries series , Vol. 1

What do you get when you combine Because of Winn-Dixie’s heart with the mystery and action of Holes? You get an engaging, spirit-lifting and unforgettable debut for young readers.

Turnage introduces readers to the homey yet exotic world of Tupelo Landing, N.C., well-populated with one-of-a-kind characters. A stranger with justice on his mind has just arrived in town, and Hurricane Amy is on its way. Rising sixth-grader Mo LoBeau leads the cast through a series of clues as the whole town tries to figure out who among them might be a murderer. The novel’s opening lines reveal the unflappable Mo LoBeau as a latter-day Philip Marlowe: “Trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing at exactly seven minutes past noon on Wednesday, the third of June, flashing a gold badge and driving a Chevy Impala the color of dirt.” This is the first of many genius turns of phrases. Pairing the heartbreaking sadness of children who don’t get their fair share from parents with the hilarity of small-town life, Turnage achieves a wickedly awesome tale of an 11-year-old girl with more spirit and gumption than folks twice her age. Mo LoBeau is destined to become a standout character in children’s fiction.

Readers may find they never want to leave Tupelo Landing. (Mystery. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3670-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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Light on gore and corpses; otherwise a full-bore, uncomplicated shriekfest.

VACANCY

Does anyone who volunteers to spend a night in a derelict haunted hotel on a dare deserve what they get?

“The hotel is hungry. And we aren’t leaving here until it’s fed.” In what reads like a determined effort to check off every trope of the genre, Alexander sends new arrival Jasmine, along with two friends and several dozen other classmates, to the long-abandoned Carlisle Hotel for the annual seventh grade Dare—touching off a night of terror presided over by the leering, autocratic Grand Dame and complete with sudden gusts and blackouts, spectral visions, evil reflections in mirrors, skeletons, a giant spider, gravity reversals, tides of oily black sludge sucking screaming middle schoolers down the drain, and so much more. (No gore, though, aside from a few perfunctory drops of blood from one small scratch.) The author saves a twist for the end, and as inducement to read alone or aloud in the dark by flashlight, both his language and the typography crank up the melodrama: “He walks toward us, past the mirror, and I see it— / a pale white face in the reflection, / a gaunt, skeletal grimace, / with sharpened teeth / and hollow black eyes, staring at him / with its mouth / wide / open / in a scream….” Jasmine presents White; her closest friends are Rohan, whose name cues him as South Asian, and Mira, who has dark skin.

Light on gore and corpses; otherwise a full-bore, uncomplicated shriekfest. (Horror. 10-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-70215-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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