Friday Barnes, Girl Detective

fridaybarnsby R. A. Spratt
First sentence: “Friday Barnes was not an unhappy child.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Review copy snagged off the ARC shelves at work.
Content: There’s some biggish words, and a bunch of swoony 7th-grade girls, but other than that’s it’s aimed toward the 3rd-5th grade crowd. It’s in the middle grade section of the bookstore.

Friday Barnes excels in going unnoticed. In fact, she prefers it that way. She prefers just sliding through school, being little noticed. She also is incredibly observant, so when her uncle (who’s a private investigator) needs some help solving a bank robbery, she helps, solving it. Which means she received the $50,000 reward money. She uses that to go to a posh boarding school, mostly because she wants a change.

What she gets is a brilliant but absent-minded roommate, some ditzy teachers, and a few mysteries to solve (she makes a tidy profit doing so, too.)

It’s not a bad book. I like that Friday is a girl, and that she uses deductive reasoning to solve cases (kind of like Sherlock Holmes, or Encyclopedia Brown). And while the mysteries were run-of-the mill, I didn’t catch the clues enough to solve it myself, so they were pretty smart. That said, the stereotypes drove me nuts. The absent-minded smart girl with the dumb jock brother. The silly 7th grade girls who swoon over a hairy mystery guy in the forest because “hairy guys are cute”. The super hot boy who’s got it out for Friday. Yeah, it’s all supposed to be funny, but it kind of just fell flat. I’d love it if authors stopped using silly stereotypes for humor.

So, in the end, while I like the idea of this one, I didn’t really like the book.

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