Earlier this year, I attended BEA and was most excited about Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer's new book aimed at the middle school set. (BEA Day 3: Why Are Those Girls from Brave Dressed as Ninjas?) Growing up, I loved kid detectives. Encyclopedia Brown was one of my favorites, as were Trixie Belden and her sidekick Honey Wheeler, and Nancy Drew and crew. With the introduction of Randi Rhodes, Spencer brings life to the kid detective genre once again.
Randi Rhodes loves Brooklyn. Some of her best detective work has been done on the streets of her beloved neighborhood. But with her mother's recent passing, her father, an author of a female detective series, decides to move them to the quiet town of Deer Creek, Tennessee. Randi is familiar with the town, having spent every summer there with her parents, so she already knows that it's nothing like New York and no place she wants to be. Fortunately for budding detective Randi, the town's time capsule has been stolen, giving her her first assignment.
Every detective needs a sidekick and Randi is lucky enough to have two. Dario Cruz and his mom own the local orchard. When he's not making deliveries around town or helping out on the farm, he's busy helping Randi set up their new clubhouse. D.C. isn't as daring as Randi, so when she's not looking for clues, she's training him in martial arts.
Pudge Taylor is new to town just like Randi. Though it takes Randi a while to warm up to him, he proves to be a good friend to her and D.C. Most important, he shows up at just the right time every time.
This is really a cute read for the middle school crowd. The townspeople are just what you would expect in a typical small town. Spencer includes an appendix full of tasks readers and aspiring detectives can complete on their own, a recipe and tips on detecting. According to Goodreads, book two in the series is due out September 2014. It looks like Spencer can keep author on her list of jobs for a while longer.
Published: October 2013
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.
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