For summer reading or dreaming of summer, this satisfying sequel can be a good starting point for middle-grade readers.

READ REVIEW

HUNTER MORAN HANGS OUT

From the Hunter Moran series , Vol. 2

Rising sixth-graders Hunter and Zack make the most of the last four days of their summer vacation, attempting to stave off a kidnapping, performing rescues and welcoming yet another sibling.

Continuing the TV-fueled adventures begun at the start of their summer and chronicled in Hunter Moran Saves the Universe (2012), the twins leave a surprising trail of destruction at summer’s end. They trample their father’s newly seeded lawn and try to cover the damage with an enormous rock they claim is a coyote’s gravestone. They take lumber and nails intended for a workroom to build a watchtower high in a tree. They break into basements, and Hunter falls out a second-story window. They survive near-drowning in the pond in Werewolf Woods. As reported by Hunter in a breathless first-person, present-tense narration, the chaos in the Moran household sometimes seems a little far-fetched, but it can be excused by the arrival of K.G., the new baby and seventh child (whose real name is not “Killer Godzilla”). Throughout the book, the boys continue to feed and replenish the worm farm they’ve established in a kitchen-cabinet drawer, a running joke that seems likely to offer possibilities for more sequels.

For summer reading or dreaming of summer, this satisfying sequel can be a good starting point for middle-grade readers. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2859-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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Written in workhorse prose, it’s an amiable enough read.

ALI CROSS

The prolific king of the beach read is back with an intergenerational mystery for the 9-to-12-year-old set.

Ali Cross, the son of Patterson’s most famous creation, African American homicide detective Alex Cross, is “starting to think the worst might have happened” to his mixed-race friend Gabriel “Gabe” Qualls, who disappeared on Dec. 21 and hasn’t been heard from as of Christmas Eve, when the book opens. Ali offers an impromptu prayer for Gabe at the pre-holiday service at his all-black church as well as an impromptu press conference outside of it as journalists and paparazzi confront Alex about his alleged coma-inducing assault of a murder suspect’s father. Then someone robs the Crosses’ home that night along with four other homes; the Crosses’ Christmas gifts are stolen. Ali, obsessed with finding Gabe and feeling that these events will distract his dad and the police from searching for him, starts his own investigation—complete with looking at some contraband footage of Gabe’s unusually loaded backpack obtained by Ali’s stepmother, also a cop—and questioning his school and gaming pals, a diverse group. Writing in Ali’s voice with occasional cutaways to third-person chapters that follow Alex, Patterson sprinkles the narrative with pop-culture references even as he takes readers through the detective process.

Written in workhorse prose, it’s an amiable enough read. (Mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53041-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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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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