Readers may find they never want to leave Tupelo Landing.

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From the Mo & Dale Mysteries series , Vol. 1

What do you get when you combine Because of Winn-Dixie’s heart with the mystery and action of Holes? You get an engaging, spirit-lifting and unforgettable debut for young readers.

Turnage introduces readers to the homey yet exotic world of Tupelo Landing, N.C., well-populated with one-of-a-kind characters. A stranger with justice on his mind has just arrived in town, and Hurricane Amy is on its way. Rising sixth-grader Mo LoBeau leads the cast through a series of clues as the whole town tries to figure out who among them might be a murderer. The novel’s opening lines reveal the unflappable Mo LoBeau as a latter-day Philip Marlowe: “Trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing at exactly seven minutes past noon on Wednesday, the third of June, flashing a gold badge and driving a Chevy Impala the color of dirt.” This is the first of many genius turns of phrases. Pairing the heartbreaking sadness of children who don’t get their fair share from parents with the hilarity of small-town life, Turnage achieves a wickedly awesome tale of an 11-year-old girl with more spirit and gumption than folks twice her age. Mo LoBeau is destined to become a standout character in children’s fiction.

Readers may find they never want to leave Tupelo Landing. (Mystery. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3670-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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


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.


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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