A great book for a lazy afternoon: a nod to Nancy that serves up a modern version of the classic teen detective heroine.

THE CLUE IN THE TREES

From the Enchantment Lake series

Francie is back for another outing in a second mystery set in Minnesota (Enchantment Lake, 2015).

Lots of people in town are aware that Francie played a major role in solving recent murders. Now, as she tries to fit in while starting her senior year at a new high school, she isn’t enjoying her oft–alluded-to Nancy Drew reputation. Her older brother, Theo, makes a surprise appearance; a few years older and not a little mysterious, he’s been absent more than he’s been around. When an archaeologist working on a dig nearby is murdered, Francie discovers clues hinting that Theo may be the killer. Befriended by two theater-kid classmates, Native American Raven and white Jay, Francie and the pair combine forces to solve this new crime, set against the backdrop of the play Antigone, in which Francie’s gotten the lead. (Although Raven’s tribal affiliation is not provided, she says her grandmother is Dakota and takes Francie ricing, a traditional activity among the Ojibwe.) There are plenty of red herrings but a few clues that might steer readers in the right direction. Francie engages in some breaking and entering and misleads the sheriff in her efforts to protect Theo, leaving this remarkably unsupervised teen open to danger and contributing to a rising level of suspense. The mostly white characters are only superficially sketched—the mystery’s the thing.

A great book for a lazy afternoon: a nod to Nancy that serves up a modern version of the classic teen detective heroine. (Mystery. 11-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5179-0219-3

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Univ. of Minnesota

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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A thrilling conclusion to a beautifully crafted, heart-stopping trilogy.

THRIVE

From the Overthrow series , Vol. 3

This is the moment teens Seth, Anaya, and Petra have both been anticipating and dreading ever since aliens called cryptogens began attempting to colonize the Earth: the chance to defend their planet.

In an earlier volume, Seth, Anaya, and Petra began growing physical characteristics that made them realize they were half alien. Seth has wings, Petra has a tail, and Anaya has fur. They also have the power of telepathy, which Anaya uses to converse with Terra, a cryptogen rebel looking for human allies who could help stop the invasion of Earth. Terra plans to use a virus stored in the three teens’ bodies to disarm the flyers, which are the winged aliens that are both masterminding the invasion and enslaving the other species of cryptogens known as swimmers and runners. But Terra and her allies can’t pull any of this off without the help of Anaya, Seth, and Petra. Although the trio is anxious about their abilities, they don’t have much of a choice—the entire human race is depending on them for salvation. Like its predecessors, this trilogy closer is fast-paced and well structured. Despite its post-apocalyptic setting, the story is fundamentally character driven, and it is incredibly satisfying to watch each protagonist overcome their inner battles within the context of the larger human-alien war. Main characters read as White.

A thrilling conclusion to a beautifully crafted, heart-stopping trilogy. (Science fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984894-80-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Clever as ever—if slow off the mark—and positively laden with tics, quirks, and puns.

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE RIDDLE OF AGES

From the Mysterious Benedict Society series , Vol. 4

When deadly minions of archvillain Ledroptha Curtain escape from prison, the talented young protégés of his twin brother, Nicholas Benedict, reunite for a new round of desperate ploys and ingenious trickery.

Stewart sets the reunion of cerebral Reynie Muldoon Perumal, hypercapable Kate Wetherall, shy scientific genius George “Sticky” Washington, and spectacularly sullen telepath Constance Contraire a few years after the previous episode, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (2009). Providing relief from the quartet’s continual internecine squabbling and self-analysis, he trucks in Tai Li, a grubby, precociously verbal 5-year-old orphan who also happens to be telepathic. (Just to even the playing field a bit, the bad guys get a telepath too.) Series fans will know to be patient in wading through all the angst, arguments, and flurries of significant nose-tapping (occasionally in unison), for when the main action does at long last get under way—the five don’t even set out from Mr. Benedict’s mansion together until more than halfway through—the Society returns to Nomansan Island (get it?), the site of their first mission, for chases, narrow squeaks, hastily revised stratagems, and heroic exploits that culminate in a characteristically byzantine whirl of climactic twists, triumphs, and revelations. Except for brown-skinned George and olive-complected, presumably Asian-descended Tai, the central cast defaults to white; Reynie’s adoptive mother is South Asian.

Clever as ever—if slow off the mark—and positively laden with tics, quirks, and puns. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-45264-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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