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WRETCHED WATERPARK

From the Sinister Summer series , Vol. 1

Young goths will be all-in for the trippy mysteries.

There’s something suspicious about the summer vacation that the Sinister-Winterbottom siblings are expected to spend with their Aunt Saffronia.

The Sinister-Winterbottom twins, Theo and Alexander, along with adopted older sister Wil, are woken up in the middle of the night by their parents and whisked away—by candlelight, of all things! Now they’re with Aunt Saffronia, about whom they know nothing. She brings them to Fathoms of Fun Waterpark to accomplish a task. “Find what was lost,” is all she will tell them. Also, something about needing time….No churros to eat, no running allowed, and hardly anyone besides themselves at the park. It’s all very weird! In fact, the park is rather Victorian and features parasols instead of sunscreen and mausoleums instead of cabanas. Since the only thing, or person, that seems to be lost is Mr. Widow, co-manager of the park, the Sinister-Winterbottoms decide to find him. The creepy gothic setting, the relationships between the siblings, the cast of unusual characters, and the teasers that this episode is just one part of a much larger puzzle will keep readers hooked. The action moves at a strong clip as the siblings uncover a plot involving impersonation and greed. Aunt Saffronia, however, shows no interest in the intrigue as she announces their next stop: the Sanguine Spa in the Little Translyvanian Mountains. The twins are White; Wil has dark brown skin.

Young goths will be all-in for the trippy mysteries. (Mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-37904-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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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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