An amusing international adventure with some dicey internet practices.

THE MYSTERY OF THE MASKED MEDALIST

From the Kudo Kids series , Vol. 1

Siblings race to solve a series of puzzles only to get more than what they bargained for.

Japanese American siblings Andy and Mika Kudo are ecstatic. Since their mother is the editor-in-chief of Compete, a popular sports website, the family will experience their first visit to Japan during the upcoming Summer Olympics. The siblings will also be able to play Olypifan, a popular augmented-reality game app, right there on the ground in Tokyo. The two already have plans to find more clues and virtual medals, all in hopes of correctly guessing the identity of the Masked Medalist. Their excitement soars when they learn that the creator of the game—an actual Olympic athlete—will have the winners be the beta testers for their upcoming game. Things get even more interesting when rumors begin to spread: of teams cheating, mysterious notes, and possible hacks. Mika has her own secret—breaking a family rule with an Instagram account to enter the Olympic photography contest. Chat transcripts, online postings, and lively illustrations are interspersed throughout the text, with most of the intrigue and puzzle-solving occurring toward the end. There is little reflection on Mika’s unsanctioned social media account, even after she receives personal messages from a possible stalker. Disappointingly, there is no note or other reinforcement about online safety.

An amusing international adventure with some dicey internet practices. (Mystery. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-5931-1373-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff

THE GREAT SHELBY HOLMES

From the Shelby Holmes series , Vol. 1

A modern Sherlock Holmes retelling brings an 11-year-old black John Watson into the sphere of know-it-all 9-year-old white detective Shelby Holmes.

John's an Army brat who's lived in four states already. Now, with his parents' divorce still fresh, the boy who's lived only on military bases must explore the wilds of Harlem. His new life in 221A Baker St. begins inauspiciously, as before he's even finished moving in, his frizzy-haired neighbor blows something up: "BOOM!" But John's great at making friends, and Shelby certainly seems like an interesting kid to know. Oddly loquacious, brusque, and extremely observant, Shelby's locally famous for solving mysteries. John’s swept up in her detecting when a wealthy, brown-skinned classmate enlists their help in the mysterious disappearance of her beloved show dog, Daisy. Whatever could have happened to the prizewinning Cavalier King Charles spaniel? Has she been swiped by a jealous competitor? Has Daisy’s trainer—mysteriously come into enough money to take a secret weekend in Cozumel—been placing bets against his own dog? Brisk pacing, likable characters, a few silly Holmes jokes ("I'm Petunia Cumberbatch," says Shelby while undercover), and a diverse neighborhood, carefully and realistically described by John, are ingredients for success.

A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff . (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-051-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A moving exploration of the places we come from and the people who shape us—not to be missed.

SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS

On a birthday trip to New York City, a girl learns about her roots, Harlem, and how to stay true to herself.

Eleven-year-old sneakerhead Amara is struggling to feel seen and heard. A new baby sister is on the way, her mom still wants to put her in dresses, and that birthday trip from the Portland, Oregon, suburbs to New York City that she so desperately wants feels out of reach. When Amara gets a family-history assignment, she is finally able to convince her mom to say yes to the trip, since it will allow Amara to meet her dad’s side of the family in person. In addition to the school project, her mom gives Amara a secret mission: get her dad and grandpa to spend time alone together to repair old wounds. Harlem proves unlike any place Amara has ever been, and as she explores where her father grew up she experiences black history on every street. Watson is a master at character development, with New York City and especially Harlem playing central roles. Through her all-black cast she seamlessly explores issues of identity, self, and family acceptance. Although the ending feels rushed, with no resolution between Amara and her mom, Amara’s concluding poem is powerful.

A moving exploration of the places we come from and the people who shape us—not to be missed. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68119-108-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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