A young detective and her friends investigate a recent string of dognappings in her neighborhood.
Biracial, Japanese-American fifth-grader Kazuko Jones is a young detective always looking for clues and trying to solve cases. On her paper route one morning, she spies some suspicious activity she thinks must be linked to a chain of dognappings and reports it to the police. When her suspicion turns out to be wrong, she is told to stop meddling. But when her neighbor’s pet is taken due to her mistake, she is determined to find both the culprit and the missing dogs. Along with her BFF and ginormous, loyal dog, Genki, she finds evidence that points to a suspect. Unfortunately, the police don’t believe her. But as more and more dogs disappear, Kazu knows she must solve the case without putting herself, her friends, and Genki in too much danger. Holyoak creates a well-paced mystery with approachable characters and issues. The dognapping case and the go-get-’em attitude of Kazu provide just enough suspense and action without being too scary. Holyoak sprinkles in topics of growing up, including friendship, relationships with parents, mean people, and telling the truth. With Kazu’s mom a second-generation Japanese-American (her dad seems white), Japanese language, food, and cultural concepts are interwoven into the story. The book otherwise adheres to the white default.
A not-too-scary, diverse mystery for those who love action, dogs, and spunky heroines. (Mystery. 8-12)