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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A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star.

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DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP

A teenager faces seemingly insurmountable challenges in this riveting modern-day spinoff of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

For Ana Dakkar and her fellow ninth graders at Harding-Pencroft Academy, there is nothing more momentous than the weekend trials each student must ace at the end of freshman year. Students who fail to showcase their survival skills are asked to leave the academy, a heavily guarded place Ana has thought of as home since the mysterious deaths of her parents. Though Ana’s brother, Dev, is a senior, what happens at trials is such a closely guarded secret that no one in her year knows what to expect. While her group is out on the water for their trials, Harding-Pencroft is demolished in an attack orchestrated by a rival school. As Ana and her classmates discover that the events depicted in Jules Verne’s classic novels were real, Riordan’s lifelong love of the source material is clear—especially when Ana learns information that will help her find a way to protect the group. A foreword by Roshani Chokshi introduces this adventure that is both great entertainment and centers a well-developed protagonist who is thoughtfully shown dealing with loss. Ana is of Bundeli Indian descent, and her group of peers, who are diverse in various ways, experience losses and struggles of their own. (Final illustrations not seen.)

A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star. (Harding-Pencroft Academy guide, cast list) (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-07792-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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The series keeps cruising along…though iffy casting may be an early sign that it’s losing steam.

SPY SCHOOL AT SEA

From the Spy School series , Vol. 9

In a new caper, the Spy School team thwarts a fiendish scheme on the high seas.

A fresh chance to catch up to world-class gourmand and perennial foe Murray Hill plants dogged CIA junior agent Ben Ripley and associates—including markedly more competent classmate Erica Hale and her equally able mom, Catherine—aboard the Emperor of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, for a fresh round of ridiculously destructive chases, startling twists, and repeated attempts on the hapless young spy’s life that are somehow always averted in the nick of time. Along with adding a grandfatherly, eco-conscious Costa Rican drug lord to the supporting cast, Gibbs flirts with stereotypes by trotting in, among the few characters who don’t at least present as White, a Chinese teen given to muddling her English idioms, her bling-loving mother, and a chipper shipboard event manager of Australian Indigenous descent. Still, the revved-up plot will leave readers as breathless as Ben is in the wake of a final, unexpected turn in his relationship with Erica. Finally, finally nabbing the slobby supervillain (at least for now) as well as saving the lives of hundreds of oblivious, hard-partying onboard tourists must count for something.

The series keeps cruising along…though iffy casting may be an early sign that it’s losing steam. (Thriller. 10-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7943-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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