by Marcia Wells
First sentence: “I’m back.”
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Review copy provided by the publisher.
Content: There’s some mild violence and some mild romance (it’s not a kissing book), but the language/chapter length level works for the younger readers as well as the older ones in the age range. It’s in the middle grade (grades 3-5) section of the bookstore.
I had a woman in the store the other day, looking for a Harriet the Spy-type mystery for a 10-year-old boy, who wanted something with intrigue and adventure. (They’d already read Harriet the Spy, or I would have given them that.) Thankfully, I had just finished this one, so I had a great, middle grade mystery with intrigue and adventure to hand to the customer. (Bonus: this is the second, but you don’t need to read the first at all!)
Edmund (call him Eddie, please!) and his family are in need of a vacation. He’d just gotten done being grounded (for events in the previous book), and his mother was given a vacation/opportunity to go to a conference. In Mexico. Sounds delightful, no? Especially since Eddie’s best friend, Jonah, was along for the ride. But once there, an ancient mask that’s on display at the hotel is stolen and Eddie’s father is blamed for the theft. So, it’s up to Eddie, Jonah and their new friend, Julia, to solve the crime and find the real thief.
I really did thoroughly enjoy this one. It’s well-paced, with intrigue, suspense, and action, as Eddie and Jonah follow the twists and turns through this mystery. I liked that they were reasonable kids, doing reasonable things, and that aside from Eddie’s photographic memory and artistic skillz, they’re pretty normal kids.
But what I really liked is that Eddie is an African American kid, and its not an issue. At all. In fact, it’s not something I even realized (shame on me?) until I was about a third of the way through. It’s a diverse cast, being set in Mexico, and it’s not something that’s pointed out. It just is. Which is always nice.
A good, refreshingly solid, middle grade book.