Friday Barnes is not a usual 11-year-old. After she solves a bank robbery without breaking a sweat, she uses the reward money to send herself to ritzy boarding school Highcrest Academy. It isn’t long before she’s made a name for herself as a shrewd sleuth, and Highcrest Academy is positively brimming with crimes and cases to be solved. Whether it’s disappearing homework or a possibly terrifying swamp Yeti, Friday is on the case.
The first of a mystery series aimed at middle grade readers, this clever, fast-paced book will have readers laughing as they solve the cases alongside Friday Barnes. There’s enormous appeal here for readers who like their main characters plucky and clever, or who like their mystery stories to be complex and also funny. I’ve had patrons rave about how much their fourth graders love these books, which is the best indication that a series has kid appeal.
Interspersed in the story are black-and-white illustrations that help break up the text and provide a nice complement to the story as a whole. Spratt’s prose brims with humor that will appeal to kids and adults alike. There’s a no-nonsense approach to Friday’s detective work, and Spratt presents a logical story that still allows itself to be silly and light.
Totally fun for a variety of readers, no matter what their age. Recommended.
Friday Barnes: Girl Detective by R.A. Spratt. Roaring Brook Press: 2016. Library copy.