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GHOST HUNTER'S DAUGHTER

Suspenseful and spine-shivering.

When a famous ghost hunter vanishes on the job, his daughter and her spirit-sensitive classmate brave a vengeful curse to bring him home.

Everyone in Archer’s Mills knows Claire Holiday, and all her classmates want to be her friend—but not on her account. Her father, Miles Holiday, hunts down and banishes ghosts on the popular TV show Invisible Intelligence. Unlike Claire, no one wants to be friends with Lucas Kent, who moved to Archer’s Mills two years ago to live with his paternal grandmother, who talks to ghosts and firmly disapproves of Miles Holiday’s methods. Forces from beyond the veil bring Lucas and Claire together when Lucas receives a desperate visitation from Claire’s dead mother, who warns him that her father is in grave danger. This fast-paced supernatural mystery switches between Lucas’ and Claire’s perspectives, so readers see both characters struggle with their own insecurities, discover potential in themselves, and grow by working together. The story is set after an unidentified natural disaster that devastated the East Coast, and cellphones no longer receive reception. All of the primary characters are presumed white, and the background characters fall into a white default. Poblocki deftly sustains tension until the resolution. Not all of the characters receive a happy ending, but the conclusion is satisfying and ties up loose ends all the same.

Suspenseful and spine-shivering. (Paranormal mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-545-83004-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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FINALLY, SOMETHING MYSTERIOUS

From the One and Onlys series , Vol. 1

Delightful fun for budding mystery fans.

Only children, rejoice! A cozy mystery just for you! (People with siblings will probably enjoy it too.)

Debut novelist Cornett introduces the One and Onlys, a trio of mystery-solving only kids: Gloria Longshanks “Shanks” Hill, Alexander “Peephole” Calloway, and narrator Paul (alas, no nickname) Marconi. The trio has a knack for finding and solving low-level mysteries, but they come up against a true head-scratcher when the yard of a resident of their small town is covered in rubber ducks overnight. Working ahead of Officer Portnoy, who’s a little on the slow side, can Paul, Shanks, and Peephole solve the mystery? Cornett has a lot of fun with this adventure, dropping additional side mysteries, a subplot about small businesses, big corporations, and economics, and a town’s love of bratwurst into the mix. Most importantly, he plays fair with the clues throughout, allowing astute readers to potentially solve the case ahead of the trio. The tone and mystery are perfect for younger readers who want to test their detective skills but are put off by anything scary or gory. The pacing would serve well for chapter-by-chapter read-alouds. If there are any quibbles, it’s the lack of diversity of the cast, as it defaults white. Diversity exists in small towns, and this one is crying out for more. Hopefully a sequel will introduce additional faces.

Delightful fun for budding mystery fans. (Mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-3003-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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EVIL SPY SCHOOL THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

From the Spy School series , Vol. 3

Will satisfy fans but could be better.

Young CIA agent-in-training Benjamin Ripley switches sides—or is he just going undercover?—in this graphic version of the third Spy School caper.

Sticking to the plot of the 2015 original, this episode sees the talented math whiz recruited by nefarious organization SPYDER after being (unjustly, he fumes) kicked out of the CIA’s academy. While training in a hidden school for evildoers with other prospective villains, including Ashley Sparks, a gushy former competitive gymnast with a fondness for portmanteau words (sweet + awesome = swawesome), Ben gets wind of a dastardly scheme to make billions on government construction projects. Hot if inept pursuit by both rival espionage agencies takes Ben from a secret underground command center to the top of the Statue of Liberty. But while the action has a rapid flow in the art (Sarkar is good at portraying fights, high-speed chases, and explosions), several characters are drawn with generic features and such a limited range of expressions that even with help from the cast gallery, it’s hard to tell them apart easily. Still, along with coming through in the suspenseful climax—thanks to clever deductions and quick thinking—by the end, Ben has also achieved a long-sought breakthrough with Erica Hale (code name “Ice Queen”), a superbly omnicompetent schoolmate who has his heart as well as his back. The cast largely presents white.

Will satisfy fans but could be better. (Graphic thriller. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781665931946

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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