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

READ REVIEW

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Another solid adventure that doesn’t reinvent the wheel but spins it quite well.

SPY SCHOOL GOES SOUTH

From the Spy School series , Vol. 6

The spy kids return for another Spy School adventure.

By now, the students at the CIA’s Academy of Espionage have had multiple exciting encounters with the villainous organization that calls itself SPYDER. The CIA is keen to take advantage of an offer made to them by disgraced ex-spy Murray Hill, a captured SPYDER teen agent. Narrator and agent Ben Ripley, 13, and his partner, Erica Hale, 15, are the only agents Murray will lead to SPYDER’s secret headquarters, so the duo reluctantly follows the traitor’s lead while their fellow students Mike Brezinski and Zoe Zibbell stow away. Things go south quickly, and soon the group is stuck in a strange land with no backup. At this point in the series fans know what they’re getting, and Gibbs doesn’t disappoint. The dialogue crackles, the schemes are clever, and the plotting is tight and efficient. Gibbs doesn’t divulge any of the character’s ethnicities, leaving room for interpretation in a key moment that is gracefully organic to the narrative. The book’s finale leaves room for more adventures, and fans’ interest in the series will be just as rabid after this fast-paced, good-humored entry.

Another solid adventure that doesn’t reinvent the wheel but spins it quite well. (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7785-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Clever as ever—if slow off the mark—and positively laden with tics, quirks, and puns.

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE RIDDLE OF AGES

From the Mysterious Benedict Society series , Vol. 4

When deadly minions of archvillain Ledroptha Curtain escape from prison, the talented young protégés of his twin brother, Nicholas Benedict, reunite for a new round of desperate ploys and ingenious trickery.

Stewart sets the reunion of cerebral Reynie Muldoon Perumal, hypercapable Kate Wetherall, shy scientific genius George “Sticky” Washington, and spectacularly sullen telepath Constance Contraire a few years after the previous episode, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (2009). Providing relief from the quartet’s continual internecine squabbling and self-analysis, he trucks in Tai Li, a grubby, precociously verbal 5-year-old orphan who also happens to be telepathic. (Just to even the playing field a bit, the bad guys get a telepath too.) Series fans will know to be patient in wading through all the angst, arguments, and flurries of significant nose-tapping (occasionally in unison), for when the main action does at long last get under way—the five don’t even set out from Mr. Benedict’s mansion together until more than halfway through—the Society returns to Nomansan Island (get it?), the site of their first mission, for chases, narrow squeaks, hastily revised stratagems, and heroic exploits that culminate in a characteristically byzantine whirl of climactic twists, triumphs, and revelations. Except for brown-skinned George and olive-complected, presumably Asian-descended Tai, the central cast defaults to white; Reynie’s adoptive mother is South Asian.

Clever as ever—if slow off the mark—and positively laden with tics, quirks, and puns. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-45264-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more