A sure pleaser for Cam Jansen grads or anyone fond of knotty, lightweight capers solved with brainpower (and a little luck).

MYSTERY ON MUSEUM MILE

From the Eddie Red Undercover series , Vol. 1

A photographic memory and a best bud with OCD help a young sleuth nab a gang of art thieves in this effervescent debut.

The pressure’s on: With his librarian father laid off, it looks like 11-year-old Edmund will have to transfer out of his exclusive prep school—until he leverages his spectacular memory and eye for detail into a part-time police gig staking out New York art museums threatened by the mysterious Picasso Gang in exchange for tuition. But not only is his relationship with crusty veteran Detective Frank Bovano, “a tough loaf of old and angry Italian bread,” on the rocks (particularly after the Taser incident), but the department is about to close the whole investigation down for lack of progress. Eddie Red is a smart, likable narrator with credible thought processes and an impulsive streak that drives the safety-minded adults around him crazy. Though the New York setting is sketchy at best, Wells outfits her voluble narrator with a lively supporting cast led by his close if relentlessly hyper friend Jonah, who comes up with the breakthrough insight, and a fluent plotline that leads to a bullets-flying climax. Calo provides accomplished, lightly caricatured portraits of all the main characters, plus a quick course in drawing faces at the end.

A sure pleaser for Cam Jansen grads or anyone fond of knotty, lightweight capers solved with brainpower (and a little luck). (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-23833-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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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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Superb storytelling.

FRANKIE & BUG

When Bug’s traditional summer routine is shaken up, her entire life changes.

It’s 1987, and 10-year-old Beatrice “Bug” Contreras has a plan: spend her summer months with her brother, Danny, on Venice Beach as she has for the past two years. But when 14-year-old Danny—who has matured into the name Daniel—wants more time to himself, Bug learns she will be instead hanging out with 11-year-old Frankie, the nephew of Phillip, her mother’s best friend and their upstairs neighbor. Frankie, who is visiting from Ohio, is trans at a time before this identity was well understood and has not been treated with kindness or acceptance by his parents. Frankie and Bug become fascinated with trying to solve the case of the Midnight Marauder, a serial killer who has been striking in the area. When Phillip is attacked, ending up in the hospital, their investigation swivels, and the titular characters uncover a few untold family tales. Bug and Daniel’s late father was a professor from El Salvador with Indigenous ancestry who spoke Nahuatl as well as Spanish and English. Biracial identity is explored in part through the differences in the siblings’ physical appearances: Their mother is implied to be White, and Daniel—who resembles their father more than Bug does—experiences more overt racism and dives into an exploration of his Salvadoran heritage. Readers interested in complex emotional development and relationships will appreciate each character's subtle nuances.

Superb storytelling. (resources, author’s note) (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-8253-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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