This book opens in a small town in Michigan where fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman. One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death. Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own fact-finding mission. The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the inquest. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. To make matters worse, the police don’t even believe them. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer.–Description taken from Goodreads
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If you grew up reading Nancy Drew or Judy Blume, then this book will feel like a return to your childhood. What I found endearing about this novel, was the author’s ability to get inside the mind of young teen girls and make the dialogue between them seem believable. A lot of authors attempt this, and few succeed as well as Lisa Orchard has with this book. I like feeling as though I am listening to an actual conversation, and that was easy to imagine while reading this.
The characters are a good match for one another. There is the annoying little sister, the daring and bold friend and the not always certain but still determined older sister. I found them to work off of each other well and the varied personalities added a nice tension to the story even before the real mystery began. I knew pretty early on in this story that i would enjoy it.
The one thing I would like to note, is that visually speaking, I couldn’t get a very clear picture of the characters in the beginning. While the author did not waste space giving the reader too much description, she also didn’t offer up quite enough in my opinion.If I can picture the main characters within the first few chapters I can relate to them more easily.
Plot-wise, this book moves along at a nice pace, and the eventual resolution to the mystery was not completely expected. This is important to me, as I hate guessing right within the first couple of chapters. The suspense was just right, not too much to be unbelievable, but enough to keep the reader turning pages.
I think these are strong enough characters to lead a series, my only concern would be, how many times can these girls get themselves into such situations before there just isn’t any way for the reader to believe that this much could happen to one group of kids? If Lisa Orchard can keep going with this series, while coming up with new mysteries for the group to solve she just mind find herself up there with the aforementioned greats. She certainly has the talent and understanding of how to tell a good story.
I would recommend this book for kids age 12 and over and anyone who enjoys a good mystery. The story is worth the time.