This delightful sequel demonstrates that Tupelo Landing may be even better on a second visit

THE GHOSTS OF TUPELO LANDING

From the Mo & Dale Mysteries series , Vol. 2

With heaps of Southern charm and the homespun humor of a favorite uncle, Turnage presents the spirited follow-up to her Newbery Honor debut, Three Times Lucky (2012).

Just as its predecessor did, this sequel shines thanks to Turnage’s deft, lyrical language and engaging characters. Mo LoBeau and her Desperado Detective Agency cohort, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, are sixth graders now. When a purportedly haunted historic inn goes on auction and Mo’s guardian, Miss Lana, wins the bid, Mo is determined to use her detecting skills to find the ghost. Dale isn’t so sure, but Mo is a force of nature when she sets her mind. But Dale fears Mo has gone too far when, in a fit of one-upmanship with her archnemesis Anna “Attila” Celeste Simpson, Mo declares that she and Dale will do a class project on the town’s oldest citizen. Turnage crafts a laugh-out-loud scene: “It would mean extra credit,” Miss Retzyl points out. “Extra credit looms large with Dale, who specializes in the Recess Arts.... Attila flashed her braces. ‘There isn’t anyone older [than Mayor Little’s mother], Mo-ron’....My temper popped like bacon on a hot skillet. ‘There is too somebody older....Dale and me are interviewing a ghost.’ ” Naturally, Mo and Dale learn as much about growing up as they do about spirits from the great beyond.

This delightful sequel demonstrates that Tupelo Landing may be even better on a second visit . (Mystery. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3671-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Kathy Dawson/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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Likely to sell in spades but a slipshod, slapdash outing from co-authors who usually have higher standards.

BEST NERDS FOREVER

Two young ghosts with unfinished business in this world join forces.

Eighth grade cyclist Finn McAllister decides to undertake a search for the supposedly crazed driver who forced him off the road and over a cliff to his death, but he spends far more of his time attending his own funeral, hovering near his grieving family and his four besties to overhear conversations, and floating through school—skipping the girls’ restroom because he still has somestandards—and positively hammering on the realization that wasting any of life’s opportunities can only lead to regret. He discovers that he can still taste ice cream, smell farts, skip stones in the local lake, and use a TV remote. He can also share thoughts with both the living and with Isabella Rojas, the ghost of a classmate who vanished several months previously but is still hanging around, although she is not sure why. Eventually, in a massively contrived climax that leaves both souls ready to move on, Finn comes up with a scheme to produce proof of Isabella’s death to bring closure to her mother and also absolves his hit-and-run driver of fault (for a reason readers will see coming). In this outing, the usually dynamic duo throws together an aimless ramble around a set of flimsy mysteries that fail to coalesce. Finn reads as White; Isabella is cued as Latinx. Final illustrations not seen.

Likely to sell in spades but a slipshod, slapdash outing from co-authors who usually have higher standards. (Paranormal fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-50024-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2021

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Rattles along to thrill-a-minute tracks, but the series shows signs of losing steam.

CHARLIE THORNE AND THE CURSE OF CLEOPATRA

From the Charlie Thorne series , Vol. 3

How better to celebrate a 13th birthday than by following clues to a priceless treasure hidden for more than 2,000 years while being hotly pursued by armed thugs and Black Ops units?

Still by far the smartest person in every room she enters, Charlie continues her quest to track down the world’s greatest treasures while keeping herself and the fantastically dangerous formula only she knows out of the hands of an increasing number of intelligence agencies and other bad actors. A bit of ancient steganography sends her, with her half brother, Dante, and his partner, Milana, both CIA agents, from Giza to the Acropolis, the Roman Forum and then the Metropolitan Museum of Art—for, at each stop, a new clue or artifact paired to heavy infodumps about the locale’s historical and archaeological highlights. Not to mention one or more ambushes with, occasionally, gunfire, one or more high-speed chases (including one in a chariot, which is at least different), and chances for Charlie’s overachieving sidekicks each to take out entire squads of gunmen sent by the Israeli Mossad, the Egyptian Mukhabarat, an Egyptian billionaire, and even the CIA. The prize turns out to be worth the kerfuffle, but even though this is only the third episode, the plot is all manufactured action strung together with mechanical predictability. The characterizations are equally facile. Multiracial Charlie is described as having globally diverse racial origins.

Rattles along to thrill-a-minute tracks, but the series shows signs of losing steam. (Action adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9934-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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