Blog Tour Review: In the Role of Brie Hutchens…

Title: In the Role of Brie Hutchens…
Author: Nicole Melleby
Genre: Middle Grade, LGBT, Contemporary
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Introducing Brie Hutchens: soap opera super fan, aspiring actor, and so-so student at her small Catholic school. Brie has big plans for eighth grade. She’s going to be the star of the school play and convince her parents to let her go to the performing arts high school. But when Brie’s mom walks in on her accidentally looking at some possibly inappropriate photos of her favorite actress, Brie panics and blurts out that she’s been chosen to crown the Mary statue during her school’s May Crowning ceremony. Brie’s mom is distracted with pride—but Brie’s in big trouble: she has not been chosen. No one has. Worse, Brie has almost no chance to get the job, which always goes to a top student.

Desperate to make her lie become truth, Brie turns to Kennedy, the girl everyone expects to crown Mary. But sometimes just looking at Kennedy gives Brie butterflies. Juggling her confusing feelings with the rapidly approaching May Crowning, not to mention her hilarious non-star turn in the school play, Brie navigates truth and lies, expectations and identity, and how to—finally—make her mother really see her as she is.

Review:

When Brie’s mother almost catches her looking at photos of a naked woman, she tells her mom that she was chosen to crown the statue of Mary at the end of the school year. She told her mom that to distract her, but Brie wasn’t chosen to crown Mary, and she probably won’t be since that special role is given to one of the best students. After that moment, Brie realizes she may like girls more than boys, since she isn’t boy crazy like her best friend. Meanwhile, Brie really wants to be an actress. She wants to audition for the acting program at an arts high school, but her parents may not be able to afford the tuition. Brie is discovering herself and how to share her identity with her family and friends.

This story dealt with so many important topics in the life of a middle schooler. Brie’s family is going through changes. Her father lost his job, and got a job at her school to get a discount on tuition. The problem was that Brie was embarrassed for the other students to know he was her dad. Her father was also depressed, and Brie had a difficult time figuring out how to behave around him while he struggled. Brie also had some problems with her mother, who wasn’t completely supportive when she learned that Brie may like girls.

Brie was learning about her sexuality. She doesn’t like boys the way her friend does. She could relate to the queer characters in her soap operas, so she suspects that she is queer too. This was especially difficult because Brie’s family was religious and she went to catholic school. It was heartbreaking to see the way Brie acknowledged she had to hide her true identity because it wouldn’t be accepted at school or in her home.

This story was heartbreaking but also uplifting.

Thank you Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby

George by Alex Gino

About the author:

Nicole Melleby is a born-and-bred Jersey girl with a passion for storytelling. She studied creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University and currently teaches creative writing and literature courses with a handful of local universities. When she’s not writing, she can be found browsing the shelves at her local comic shop or watching soap operas with a cup of tea.

Have you read In the Role of Brie Hutchens…? What did you think of it?

Review: Music for Tigers

Title: Music for Tigers
Author: Michelle Kadarusman
Genre: Middle Grade, Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Pajama Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Shipped halfway around the world to spend the summer with her mom’s eccentric Australian relatives, middle schooler and passionate violinist Louisa is prepared to be resentful. But life at the family’s remote camp in the Tasmanian rainforest is intriguing, to say the least. There are pig-footed bandicoots, scary spiders, weird noises and odors in the night, and a quirky boy named Colin who cooks the most amazing meals. Not the least strange is her Uncle Ruff, with his unusual pet and veiled hints about something named Convict Rock.

Finally, Louisa learns the truth: Convict Rock is a sanctuary established by her great-grandmother Eleanor—a sanctuary for Tasmanian tigers, Australia’s huge marsupials that were famously hunted into extinction almost a hundred years ago. Or so the world believes. Hidden in the rainforest at Convict Rock, one tiger remains. But now the sanctuary is threatened by a mining operation, and the last Tasmanian tiger must be lured deeper into the forest. The problem is, not since her great-grandmother has a member of the family been able to earn the shy tigers’ trust.

As the summer progresses, Louisa forges unexpected connections with Colin, with the forest, and—through Eleanor’s journal—with her great-grandmother. She begins to suspect the key to saving the tiger is her very own music. But will her plan work? Or will the enigmatic Tasmanian tiger disappear once again, this time forever?

A moving coming-of-age story wrapped up in the moss, leaves, and blue gums of the Tasmanian rainforest where, hidden under giant ferns, crouches its most beloved, and lost, creature.

Review:

Louisa is sent to Tasmania to stay with her uncle for the summer when her parents go on a research trip. Her Uncle Ruff lives in a remote camp where he looks after a variety of wild animals. He gives Louisa a journal belonging to her great-grandmother, who rescued Tasmanian tigers. Even though Tasmanian tigers were thought to be extinct for centuries, Louisa’s family knows that they are secretly around the island. Now, Louisa is the only one who holds the secret to rescuing the remaining tiger.

I learned so much while reading this book. I realized recently that I have read books by Australian authors, but none that are set in Australia. I was so glad to discover that this one was set there. I loved learning about the different animals in Tasmania that I didn’t know before. The fictional mystery around the extinction of Tasmanian tigers was so great. It makes me wonder how many creatures that are thought to be extinct could be hiding out somewhere in the world.

This book was less than 200 pages, yet there was so much to the story. The important topic of animal extinction was discussed a lot. Louisa also had anxiety surrounding her performing music on her violin. She met a boy named Colin, who was autistic. Louisa was eager to learn about Colin and how to help him navigate the world of social interaction. These were relevant topics to be in a middle grade novel.

I loved this book!

Thank you Pajama Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman

The Theory of Hummingbirds by Michelle Kadarusman

Have you read Music for Tigers? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Unready Queen (The Oddmire #2)

Title: The Unready Queen (The Oddmire #2)
Author: William Ritter
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 23, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Human and goblin brothers Cole and Tinn are finding their way back to normal after their journey to the heart of the Oddmire. Normal, unfortunately, wants nothing to do with them. Fable, the daughter of the Queen of the Deep Dark, has her first true friends in the brothers. The Queen allows Fable to visit Tinn and Cole as long as she promises to stay quiet and out of sight—concealing herself and her magic from the townspeople of Endsborough.

But when the trio discovers that humans are destroying the Wild Wood and the lives of its creatures for their own dark purposes, Fable cannot stay quiet. As the unspoken truce between the people of Endsborough and the inhabitants of the Wild Wood crumbles, violence escalates, threatening war and bringing Fable’s mother closer to the fulfillment of a deadly prophecy that could leave Fable a most Unready Queen.

Review:

Fable is the daughter of the Queen of the Deep Dark. She’s friends with Cole and Tinn, the human and goblin brothers. Some new people in town decided to dig for oil in the Wild Woods, disturbing the magical creatures who live there. Fable has to stand between her fellow magical creatures in the Wild Wood and her friends from the human town, when the dispute threatens to start a war.

There was a lot of history of the Oddmire world in this story. The story begins with Fable’s grandmother, and her experience with a changeling. She lost her own daughter, but she was returned right before the old woman died. These stories of the past made the story feel realistic, like it existed beyond the pages.

The dispute between the humans and magical creatures reminded me of race relations today. In the story, the humans took the land that the magical creatures lived on, just because they could. Other creatures were put down and accused of doing things, when there wasn’t evidence to support the accusations. This could teach kids the dangers of racism through a fantasy story.

I really enjoyed this story!

Thank you Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

The Revenge of Magic (The Revenge of Magic #1) by James Riley

Other books in the series:

Have you read The Unready Queen? What did you think of it?

Review: Megabat is a Fraidybat

Title: Megabat is a Friadybat
Author: Anna Humphrey, Kass Reich (illustrator)
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Megabat and his best friend, Daniel, go to sleepaway camp for the first time. Another hilarious chapter book in this laugh-out-loud series for fans of Dory Fantasmagory and Narwhal and Jelly.

Daniel is not so sure about going to camp. There will be bugs. And uncomfortable beds. And leeches!

Megabat can’t WAIT to go to camp! There will be so much smooshfruit, and he loves a good sing-along.

Daniel starts to think camp isn’t so bad. He’s made friends, and his bed isn’t THAT uncomfortable.

Megabat has made a new friend too. But his new friend wants him to go flying to spooky caves. And her mom is very toothy.

As Daniel is getting into the swing of things and starting to enjoy camp, Megabat is getting himself into one tangle after another to avoid going into the scary woods. But can Megabat overcome his fears to help save his new friend? Kass Reich’s adorable illustrations paired with Anna Humphrey’s hilarious text make for another unforgettable Megabat adventure, one that will appeal to Megabat fans and newcomers!

Review:

Daniel’s father surprises him with a trip to a sleep away camp. Daniel hasn’t ever gone to camp before and he is scared. His friend, Megabat, will be accompanying him, and he is excited. Megabat is a fruitbat, who can speak. Daniel immediately loves camp when he makes some friends, but Megabat is scared. Some bats met Megabat and want him to go into the dark forest with him. Megabat has to figure out how to conquer his fears.

Megabat is adorable! He speaks like a little kid, without proper grammar. For example, when he found out they were going to camp, he said, “But camp is being the adventure of a livingtime.” Even though he doesn’t use the right words most of the time, it’s easy to figure out what he means.

This was a great story about camp. Daniel was scared to go because he didn’t know what to expect. As soon as he made a friend on the bus, he forgot all about his fears. Even though many kids won’t be going away to camp this summer, they can read about camp in stories like this one.

This was a fun kid’s story!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Secret of Shadow Lake (Creature Campers #1) by Joe McGee, Bea Tormo (illustrator)

Have you read Megabat is a Fraidybat? What did you think of it?

Review: The Gryphon’s Lair (Royal Guide to Monster Slaying #2)

Title: The Gryphon’s Lair (Royal Guide to Monster Slaying #2)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Puffin Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Rowan is now the Royal Monster Hunter, and her twin brother, Rhydd, is destined to be king. But her mother’s cousin Heward is still determined that his children be the ones to inherit the titles, and will stop at nothing to show that Rowan and Rhydd are too immature to properly lead. After the gryphon that Rowan captured in Book One gives birth but then dies, Rowan is left with a baby gryphon she knows she cannot keep. And it grows faster than anyone can imagine . . .

In order to save face after an accident involving the troublesome gryphon, Rowan, with the help of her friends Dain and Alianor, along with an entourage of monstrous companions, must make a journey to the mountains to release the gryphon back into the wild. What starts off as a simple enough task soon becomes a dangerous quest, as the group encounters numerous rare and deadly monsters along the way, including wyverns and ceffyl-dwrs. Nothing is easy when you’re a “monster magnet” like Rowan. 

Can she prove herself worthy of the title of Royal Monster Hunter? Find out in this exciting second book in the Royal Guide to Monster Slaying duology! 

Review:

Rowan is training to be the royal monster hunter in her kingdom. She caught a gryphon in the previous book, and it was allowed to live because it was pregnant. Now the gryphon is having her baby, but the mother dies due to complications. The baby gryphon grows quickly and thinks that Rowan is her mother. When the gryphon goes to extreme lengths to protect Rowan, the kingdom decides that the gryphon has to be killed. Rowan convinces them to let her move the gryphon somewhere else. On Rowan’s new adventure through the country, she meets even more creatures than last time.

I really enjoyed this series. I just found out that this is the final book in this series. I would have liked to see more of Rowan as she gets older. She had to face some more mature issues in this book, such as potential suitors for her and her brother. I love how Rowan is such a strong female character. She heads right into danger to do the right thing, rather than what everyone thinks she should do. She is confident and independent.

I felt like some of the fight scenes were too long. They lasted for a couple of chapters, sometimes, and they became repetitive. One thing that could have made the fights more entertaining is if there were illustrations to go along with them. There are some illustrations of the monsters at the end of the book, but I think the story could have been enhanced with illustrations throughout the book.

This is a great middle grade book.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Other books in the series:

Have you read The Gryphon’s Lair? What did you think of it?

Review: Here Comes Hercules (Hopeless Heroes #1)

Title: Here Comes Hercules (Hopeless Heroes #1)
Author: Stella Tarakson, Nick Roberts (illustrator)
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Sweet Cherry Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 22, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When Tim Baker breaks his mum’s favourite vase, it’s the least of his problems. The Greek hero he’s released is in danger of doing far worse. To the flowers, the rug—Oh, no! Not the kitchen!

Hercules is only trying to be helpful but he’s just hopeless. It’s time to send this dim demigod home before Tim becomes ancient history.

Review:

While cleaning his house one day after school, Tim knocks his mother’s ancient Grecian vase over and breaks it. This releases Hercules from the vase, where he was trapped by Hera. Hercules tries to help Tim around the house, but he makes everything even worse. The problem is that while Hercules is causing all kinds of trouble, but Tim is the only one who can see him. Tim has to figure out a way to fix Hercules’s messes and send him back into the vase.

I love Ancient Greece, and I especially love when it’s featured in children’s books. In this story, Tim wasn’t familiar with the story of Hercules or the gods of Ancient Greece. The reader can learn alongside Tim throughout the story as he learns more about Hercules. I didn’t read stories about Ancient Greece when I was a kid, though I became interested in them as I got older. I think I would have loved this story when I was a kid.

This was a funny story. Hercules had a lot of strength but no common sense, so he was constantly messing up things in the house. For example, when Tim asked him to weed the garden, Hercules ended up cutting up all the flowers and burning them because he thought they were all enemies. When Hercules would cause trouble, Tim was blamed since no one could see Hercules. Even though Hercules caused some problems for Tim, he was able to chase away Tim’s bullies, so they helped each other in a way.

This was a great middle grade story.

Thank you Sweet Cherry Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Hera’s Terrible Trap (Hopeless Heroes #2) by Stella Tarakson, Nick Roberts (illustrator)

Arachne’s Golden Gloves (Hopeless Heroes #3) by Stella Tarakson, Nick Roberts (illustrator)

Other Books in the Series:

  • Hera’s Terrible Trap
  • Arachne’s Golden Gloves

Have you read Here Comes Hercules? What did you think of it?

Review: The Egyptian Mirror

Title: The Egyptian Mirror
Author: Michael Bedard
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Pajama Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 20, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Synopsis:

A darkly fantastic middle-grade mystery with the ominous atmosphere loved by fans of Jonathan Auxier and Jonathan Stroud

Thirteen-year-old Simon’s life has been knocked askew ever since his family moved into his deceased grandfather’s house. First there’s his eccentric neighbor Mr. Hawkins, who is laid up with a broken leg. Simon’s mother begins sending him over there with dinner for the elderly man, and soon Mr. Hawkins is depending on Simon to fetch old books and manuscript pages from all over his eerie, mirror-filled house. There’s one mirror in particular, an ancient Egyptian piece, that keeps showing Simon visions of a disturbing figure emerging from its depths. No one else sees the figure, though—just like they don’t see the huge, gaunt dog lurking in Mr. Hawkins’ bushes. As Simon himself becomes increasingly plagued by a mysterious illness, he is powerless to help as his neighbor descends into paranoia about dark forces encircling his house.

The terrible part is, Mr. Hawkins is right. Everything is about to get much, much worse.

Review:

Simon’s family moves into his grandfather’s old house after he passes away. When the old man across the street breaks his leg, Simon brings him food and helps him around his house. His house is filled with mirrors, because he was an archeologist who collected mirrors. Simon is fascinated with an Egyptian mirror in the house. After examining it, Simon starts seeing things that aren’t there, like a mysterious dog in the yard. He then gets an illness that confines him to his house. Simon has to figure out the mystery behind the mirror.

I love ancient Egypt, so I was so excited to read this book. There was some history of ancient Egypt in the story, but there was a lot about the history of mirrors and what they symbolize. Mirrors represent a person’s double, since it is a copy or reflection of yourself. In many cultures, mirrors are believed to capture a person’s soul when they die. That makes mirrors mysterious and dangerous objects, like in this book.

This book was very creepy and suspenseful. Mr. Hawkins was a mysterious figure at the beginning, because he seemed to have some secrets hidden in his home. His home was also full of mirrors, which sounds very creepy. The illness that Simon had was also quite mysterious. He couldn’t do anything but sleep, yet the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. It’s scary to imagine having a mysterious illness that no one can figure out.

I really enjoyed this story.

Thank you Pajama Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Target Practice (Cleopatra in Space #1) by Mike Maihack

Me and Banksy by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Have you read The Egyptian Mirror? What did you think of it?

Review: Once Upon an Eid

Title: Once Upon an Eid
Author: S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed (editors)
Genre: Middle Grade, Short Stories
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid! 

Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it’s waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it’s the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it’s the gift-giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.

The full list of Once Upon an Eid contributors include: G. Willow Wilson (Alif the Unseen, Ms. Marvel), Hena Khan (Amina’s Voice, Under My Hijab), N. H. Senzai (Shooting Kabul, Escape from Aleppo), Hanna Alkaf (The Weight of Our Sky), Rukhsana Khan (Big Red Lollipop), Randa Abdel-Fattah (Does My Head Look Big in This?), Ashley Franklin (Not Quite Snow White), Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (Mommy’s Khimar), Candice Montgomery (Home and Away, By Any Means Necessary), Huda Al-Marashi (First Comes Marriage), Ayesha Mattu, Asmaa Hussein, and Sara Alfageeh. 

Review:

This is a collection of middle grade stories about Eid and Muslim celebrations. Each story is written by Muslim authors from around the world, who talk about different ways to celebrate.

Each of the characters had different traditions and different family structures or situations, which reflects the diversity of the world. Though all the characters share the same religion, they have different ways of celebrating Eid. Their traditions were different depending on where they lived, because some places have a bigger Muslim population for them to celebrate together as a community, whereas others celebrated quietly at home. Some characters had different celebrations because of a sick family member, which changed the way they could celebrate with family and friends. These different styles of celebrating reflected the way people celebrate holidays in different ways around the world.

I had many Muslim friends while I was growing up, but I didn’t know much about Eid. I knew they fasted in the days leading up to the holiday and that the date of the holiday changed depending on the moon, but I didn’t know much about the actual celebrations. This was probably also because people celebrated differently depending on what country they were from and their family circumstances. I feel like I understand the holiday much better after reading this book.

I loved this short story collection! I hope there will be more diverse short story collections for young readers to give readers of all backgrounds something to relate to, and to teach other readers about different traditions.

Thank you Abrams Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Have you read Once Upon an Eid? What did you think of it?

Review: Rival Magic

Title: Rival Magic
Author: Deva Fagan
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 21, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A young wizard’s apprentice discovers that the best magic is not the biggest or the brightest, but the magic unique to you, in this cinematic middle grade fantasy in the tradition of Kiki’s Delivery Service and The School for Good and Evil.

Antonia may not be the most powerful wizard the world has ever seen, but she’s worked hard to win her place as apprentice to renowned sorcerer Master Betrys. Unfortunately, even her best dancing turnip charm might not be enough when Moppe the scullery maid turns out to be a magical prodigy. Now that Betrys has taken Moppe on as a second apprentice, Antonia’s path to wizarding just got a bit more complicated.

But when Betrys is accused of treason, Antonia and Moppe are forced to go on the run. To prove their master’s innocence—and their own—the rivals must become allies. As their island province teeters on the brink of rebellion, they’ll face ancient spells, vengeful mermaids, enchanted turnips, voice-stealing forests, and one insatiable sea monster. 

Review:

Antonia is a wizard’s apprentice, but she isn’t very good at magic. One night when she is practicing magic, the new kitchen maid finds her. It turns out that she can do the spell better than Antonia. The kitchen maid, Moppe, becomes the next apprentice because her magic abilities are so strong. Then, the wizard they work with is accused with treason, leaving Antonia and Moppe to run away and look for evidence to prove their master’s innocence. They end up on a journey through the island to find the crown that belongs to the rightful leader.

This story had all the elements of a great children’s fantasy novel. There were magical creatures, such as a talking ferret who was sent to spy on their wizard master. There were dancing turnips, enchanted mermaids, and a nightmare forest. There were also betrayals and deception.

The magical world is controlled by words. The wizards learn words that give them different spell abilities. There are thousands of different words to create spells. That means that they can’t do a spell until they have learned how to say the word for it. This is a problem for Moppe who cannot read. It gave her a unique challenge that she had to find a way to overcome. Since I love words, this was a fascinating world to me.

This was a really good fantasy story!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil #1) by Soman Chainani

A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying (Royal Guide to Monster Slaying #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Have you read Rival Magic? What did you think of it?

Review: The Body Under the Piano

Title: The Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen #1)
Author: Marthe Jocelyn
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A smart and charming middle-grade mystery series starring young detective Aggie Morton and her friend Hector, inspired by the imagined life of Agatha Christie as a child and her most popular creation, Hercule Poirot. For fans of Lemony Snicket and The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency.

Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative but deeply shy, Aggie hasn’t got much to do since the death of her beloved father . . . until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! As the number of suspects grows and the murder threatens to tear the town apart, Aggie and her new friend will need every tool at their disposal — including their insatiable curiosity, deductive skills and not a little help from their friends — to solve the case before Aggie’s beloved dance instructor is charged with a crime Aggie is sure she didn’t commit.

Filled with mystery, adventure, an unforgettable heroine and several helpings of tea and sweets, The Body Under the Piano is the clever debut of a new series for middle-grade readers and Christie and Poirot fans everywhere, from a Governor General’s Award–nominated author of historical fiction for children.

Review:

This story imagines what Agatha Christie would have been like as a child solving mysteries. Along with her new friend from Belgium, Hector Perot, she investigates a body found under the piano at her dance studio.

This mystery was suspenseful and unpredictable. I couldn’t figure out who was the murderer, so I was surprised at the end. One of the most important clues was saved until right before the end, so there wasn’t any way to figure it out until then, but I was still surprised.

I wish this book was around when I was a kid. I loved Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew mysteries. This book combines them, with a young detective, who is also an inspiring writer.

I loved this first book in the Aggie Morton series. I’m excited to read the next one!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket

Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis

Have you read The Body Under the Stairs? What did you think of it?