I promised you all that I would do my first giveaway from my Scholastic Warehouse Sale haul in the New Year, so I’m excited to kick off my first MMGM of 2014 with exactly that. The details are at the bottom of the post.
I picked up I SO DON’T DO MYSTERIES by Barrie Summy completely based on the back cover copy. I hadn’t heard of this series before then.
Then … a freaky change of plans. Sherry’s mom, a cop killed in the line of duty, contacts her. Not only is she a ghost, she’s a ghost in danger of flunking out of the Academy of Spirits, and she needs Sherry’s help. Unless she solves an important mystery in San Diego, she’ll be banished to an afterlife for ghost failures!
If Sherry wants to be a normal seventh grader (as in, one who doesn’t communicate with ghosts), she can’t tell anybody about her mom–or what she has to do. Not her brother, not Junie, and especially not Josh. It’s up to Sherry alone to save the day. Except … she SO doesn’t do mysteries.
Here are the five things I loved most about this book.
1. The voice – I have to be honest. When I started reading this, I thought Sherry felt a little old for seventh grade. It had to do with the way she talked about her crush. I think this is why 13 is a hard age in middle grade. She’s a teenager, but there’s still a lot of child in her, too. The further I got into the book, the more that unique mix fit perfectly for the age.
2. The family dynamics – The above description doesn’t get into the fact that Sherry didn’t have the best relationship with her mom while she was alive or that her dad is getting remarried to one of her teachers. Aside from the thrill of traveling to solve a mystery, she has to come to grips with a lot of real-life issues. They’re not all resolved in this book, and I’m interested to see how those relationships develop in the rest of the series.
3. The mystery – Of course I have to mention the mystery. I admit I figured a lot of it out in advance, but I’m not sure the majority of readers in the target age group would. It was definitely a unique mystery, and I learned something about rhinos in the process. You’ll just have to read it to find out for yourself.
4. The friendship – Friendship is always a major focus in middle grade, and this book is no exception. Sherry and her best friend are at the age where they’re figuring out who they are now and who they want to be, so that brings up some conflict. I liked the way it was handled.
5. Sherry’s descriptions of people – This ties back to the voice, but I got such a sense of Sherry’s character by the way she described the people she encountered. If she didn’t like them, that was very clear in her description. And if her opinion of someone changed, you saw that, too. I really want to give an example here, but if I do it would give away who the villain is, so I won’t.
On to the giveaway. It’s for a paperback copy of the book. United States and Canada only. To enter, just leave a comment on this post by noon on Sunday, Jan. 19. I’ll announce the winner next Monday, Jan. 20. Good luck!