Clever in small doses—tedious after the first few dozen entries.

WHO DONE IT?

AN INVESTIGATION OF MURDER MOST FOUL

A routine writing exercise filled with in-jokes and carried to ridiculous extremes by a mammoth stable of YA and children’s authors.

Produced to benefit the creative writing program 826NYC, the anthology consists of alibis of various length offered by 83 (!) alphabetically ordered contributors accused of killing evil editor Herman Q. Mildew. Along with making frequent reference to cheese (the stinky sort, natch), pickles and frozen legs of lamb, some “suspects” protest their inability to meet any deadline (Libba Bray) or map out a scheme (“Plotting has never been my strong point. Just read any of my books,” writes Sarah Darer Littman). Others protest that they adored the victim despite his habit of callously rejecting their story ideas, mistreating their manuscripts, insulting their pets, calling them at odd hours and bilking them of royalties. Dave Eggers and Greg Neri provide lists of explicitly described ways in which they did not kill Mildew, Mo Willems and Michael Northrup claim to have been off killing someone else at the time, and Elizabeth Eulberg, Mandy Hubbard, John Green, Lauren Myracle and several others shift the blame to fellow writers. Young readers, even the sort who worship authors, will find their eyes soon glazing over.

Clever in small doses—tedious after the first few dozen entries. (author bios) (Belles lettres. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61695-152-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Soho Teen

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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A quick, agreeable caper, this may spark some discussion even as it entertains.

FINDING MIGHTY

Myla and Peter step into the path of a gang when they unite forces to find Peter’s runaway brother, Randall.

As they follow the graffiti tags that Randall has been painting in honor of the boys’ deceased father, they uncover a sinister history involving stolen diamonds, disappearances, and deaths. It started long ago when the boys’ grandmother, a diamond-cutter, partnered with the head of the gang. She was rumored to have hidden his diamonds before her suspicious death, leaving clues to their whereabouts. Now everyone is searching, including Randall. The duo’s collaboration is initially an unwilling one fraught with misunderstandings. Even after Peter and Myla bond over being the only people of color in an otherwise white school (Myla is Indian-American; mixed-race Peter is Indian, African-American, and white), Peter can’t believe the gang is after Myla. But Myla possesses a necklace that holds a clue. Alternating first-person chapters allow peeks into how Myla, Peter, and Randall unravel the story and decipher clues. Savvy readers will put the pieces together, too, although false leads and red herrings are cleverly interwoven. The action stumbles at times, but it takes place against the rich backdrops of gritty New York City and history-laden Dobbs Ferry and is made all the more colorful by references to graffiti art and parkour.

A quick, agreeable caper, this may spark some discussion even as it entertains. (Mystery. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2296-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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A winning formula, replete with wince-worthy contretemps reported in properly poker-faced prose.

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF JACK LIME

More high school noir, centered on a humorless amateur gumshoe for whom a punch in the nose is all in a day’s work.

Jack’s face is still damaged after the capers in the previous casebook (The Adventures of Jack Lime, 2010). It takes further poundings as he tails the boyfriend of a slinky classmate to a forbidden dodgeball game run by local gangbangers and shortly afterward is pressed into service to recover a stolen comic by a punk collector with a violent temper. Being slower on the uptake than he should be, he is also repeatedly framed by a smooth operator—to the point that the school’s football team is treating him like a pinball in the halls and Principal Snit is on the verge of expelling him for good. Surrounded by a typical teen crowd of molls, geeks, plug uglies and people who are smarter than he is, Jack nonetheless manages to hold his own thanks to relentless focus, a sharp eye for clues and the occasional flash of insight. By the end, more than one murky scheme has been exposed, though a wild twist signals that Jack’s labors aren’t over yet. Jack’s advanced age notwithstanding, this is just the ticket for upper-elementary and middle school mystery lovers.

A winning formula, replete with wince-worthy contretemps reported in properly poker-faced prose. (Mystery. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55453-364-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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