January 13, 2013

Review: The Second Spy

I really enjoy reading children's books, especially series. This is fast becoming one of my favorite series for children, especially mystery. 

This is such an interesting mystery: living in a house where the characters can go in and out of Elsewhere, AKA paintings. It's a clever idea, and I am curious to see where the author takes me in the next one.

Title: The Second Spy 
Author: Jacqueline West 
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3689-4 
Pages: 296                                    
Available: NOW at your local bookstore or library 

Summary (from the book jacket): 

What lurks below the house could be as dangerous as what's hidden inside . . .

Some terrifying things have happened to Olive in the old stone house, but none as scary as starting junior high. Or so she thinks. When she plummets through a hole in her backyard, though, she realizes two things that may change her mind: First, the wicked Annabelle McMartin is back. Second, there's a secret underground that unlocks not one but two of Elsewhere's biggest, most powerful, most dangerous forces yet. But with the house's guardian cats acting suspicious, her best friend threatening to move away, and her ally Morton starting to rebel, Olive isn't sure where to turn. Will she figure it out in time? Or will she be lured into Elsewhere, and trapped there forever? 

My Thoughts: 

This is my favorite in the series so far.

In the third installment of West’s tale, Olive is starting middle school. If that’s not scary enough, strange occurrences are happening not only in her home but also in her art class. She’s dealing with unexplained notes, missing items, and a betrayer in her midst.

The plot of this novel is well-developed and nicely paced. The mystery unfolds at all the right spots, building suspense and then popping the suspense bubble. Who is leaving Olive letters in her school cubby? Where are the missing items? Who is the betrayer among them? The answers to these questions will surprise seasoned readers of Olive’s story.

Olive is such a delightful character. Very little rattles her. She just wants to seek the truth, find Morton’s parents, keep her best friend from moving, and to be rid of Annabelle McMartin once and for all. Is that too much to ask? Yes. Yes it is.

I enjoy Olive because she is a loyal friend, she is curious, and she does what she feels is right. Sometimes these qualities get her in trouble, but ultimately these are the qualities that will keep readers coming back, cheering Olive on as she tries to defeat the McMartins.

Readers of the first two novels will not be disappointed, but I feel that the first two novels aren’t a necessity to read before diving right into this story. West has a delightful way of reminding readers of the events of the past two novels.

This series will appeal to those who enjoy children’s mysteries. It is not scary, and the illustrations that accompany the writing really enhance the storytelling. I could see readers of the Magic Tree House series really engaging with this one as they grow.

Have you read the The Books of Elsewhere series? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

Happy Reading!

1 comment:

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