A thrilling, mystery-laden story with an incredible setting.

BEAR BOTTOM

From the FunJungle series , Vol. 7

Leaving FunJungle Adventure Park for a vacation on a ranch in West Yellowstone, 13-year-old Teddy and his girlfriend, Summer, find themselves searching for missing bison while in the middle of solving a jewel heist.

The latest book in Gibbs’ FunJungle series leaves the adventure park for new territory. Even so, Teddy can’t seem to escape mysteries. While staying at the Oy Vey Corral, his skills as a teen detective are enlisted by the ranch owners to help find out who is stealing their purebred bison. When a grizzly bear named Sasquatch breaks into the ranch house late one night and Summer’s mother’s dazzling multimillion-dollar necklace goes missing, Teddy finds himself working not just one whodunit, but two. From an old hidden room for hiding bootleggers’ stashes to an abandoned gold mine and a bull on the loose, Gibbs keeps the pace moving and the action coming. While most of the main characters are presumed White, there is diversity in secondary characters. The owners of the Oy Vey Corral are Jewish. Gibbs doesn’t shy away from discussing America’s brutal treatment of Native peoples or the ways Americans have destroyed animal populations and habitats. This action-packed mystery with a satisfying resolution doesn’t rest on predictable thieves or obvious answers.

A thrilling, mystery-laden story with an incredible setting. (author’s note) (Mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7946-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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

ALI CROSS

From the Ali Cross series , Vol. 1

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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An action-packed fantasy containing a surprising twist.

SHINJI TAKAHASHI AND THE MARK OF THE COATL

From the Society of Explorers and Adventurers series , Vol. 1

An old curse and untapped magic lead a boy on a worldwide quest to save his aunt.

Ever since 13-year-old Shinji Takahashi’s parents died, he and his Aunt Yui have lived a life that includes months of travels, hunting for unique items for her shop in Miami. While floating down the Zambezi River, Shinji comes upon a mysterious shop with a small figurine of a Coatl, or mythical feathered serpent, that seems to be calling to him. But after he buys it, Shinji is kidnapped and held captive by the Hightower Corporation in New York City. Aunt Yui is nowhere to be seen—and the Coatl figurine has transformed itself into a tattoo on Shinji’s arm. A Hightower villain informs him that it brings with it a deadly curse. Meanwhile, young prodigy Lucy, who has been working for the corporation, appears in Shinji’s room in the middle of the night: After overhearing Hightower’s evil plans for him, she decides to help him break out. Lucy suggests reaching out to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, Hightower’s archrivals, for help returning the Coatl to its original temple and finding Shinji’s aunt. This intriguing venture builds to a compelling climax. One question that remains unanswered is why Japanese American Shinji, who has no Mesoamerican heritage, is chosen by the Coatl to be its rescuer; perhaps this will be resolved in the next entry in this new series.

An action-packed fantasy containing a surprising twist. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-368-06819-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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