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Jessica Haight

Autor/a de The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow

2 obres 55 Membres 4 Ressenyes

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This is just a terrific find for middle school age children. Authors Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson have done a wonderful job of capturing what it is like to be this age, and the illustrations of Roman Muradov add a quirky sense of fun to everything which happens in the book.

Leaving Manhattan to move to Connecticut, and move into Begonia House, is bad enough for Fairday Morrow, but breaking up the other half of the Detective Mystery Squad — DMS — by separating her and her best friend Lizzy is the worst! But there are secrets surrounding the old Victorian mansion, and by the time Lizzy comes to visit, there’s a real mystery to solve. Before we arrive there, however, the authors have given us a warm look at this age which will ring true for children. Sprinkled throughout are gentle and unobtrusive life lessons, and a charming tone which harkens back to mystery books for children of yesteryear. Being happy with yourself — your weight, your quirks — is one of them.

How could Fairday have heard those bagpipes playing, when they’re dusty and unused? A sparkling, high-heeled sneaker, flower petals, blueprints which may be more than a house schematic, an old gypsy-looking woman, and a diary hold the key. But most important — and dangerous — is that strange mirror. Fairday discovers early on just how dangerous it can be during an incident involving her little sister. But it is her dog, Aunt Em, which will lead to the greatest — and most dangerous — aspect of the case for the DMS crew, which now includes the Rocket — otherwise known as Marcus.

The story has charm, warmth, excitement and danger. The conclusion promises more adventures, and those who read this will be itching to get their hands on the next. This is, however, more a magical mystery than a traditional mystery for young children, and that brings me to a very minor caveat. I want to emphasize this is an adult caveat which has nothing to do with how much middle school age children will love this. Because I’ve rated this five stars for the audience at which it is aimed, my next comments are more a side note, an adult’s reaction.

I want to emphasize once again that this is an adult quibble, and as such, is to be taken in that context. Despite the book description, this sounded more like an old-fashioned book of mystery for children. As an adult reading this, however, I felt let down after the first quarter of the book. There was a sense of warmth and fun, even nostalgia, for Fairway and Lizzy, and the boy on the horizon who might become a part of the DMS crew and help solve the mystery of the house. The gentle life lessons woven so deftly into the narrative, the funny and very true-to-life moments of being the new kid in school, gave this story charm and promise. Then came the magic mirror. And it got a tad real. And I sighed.

Though I too really enjoyed Harry Potter, that series was something very unique. One of the unfortunate side effects of its massive success, however, is that so many books for children, even for middle school age, now seem to automatically go in this direction. In this case, because these authors were so good, they didn’t have to. If they would have continued in the same manner as the first quarter of the narrative, this would have been just as wonderful, and DMS could have maintained its supposed meaning of Detective Mystery Squad. But as it became Detective Magic Squad, the charm and warmth of the first quarter was gradually eroded, almost disappearing beneath the magic and a bit of real violence. In the end, it is discovered that a very real murder in the past was caused by magic means.

Children will gobble this up, lost in the fun and the mystery, never realizing what might have been. But as an adult I was aware of the change in tone. Even in this age of Harry Potter, which was wonderful in many ways — though much more adult than often mentioned — there are still parents who might balk at this type of element in their child’s reading material, so they might want to take a look first before deciding. Most parents, however, will find it quite tame, offset by the warmth and charm of the story and characters. Fairday’s interactions with her dad, especially, are very nice. Most children from 8-12 — and those skirting either side of those numbers — are certain to embrace Fairday and this book with open arms. They’ll be looking eagerly forward to the next adventure.

Overall, this is a wonderful read for middle school age children these authors have penned. It’s warm and lively, and has some slice-of-life as a kid moments. They’ll be enthralled by Fairday, Lizzy and Marcus’s first mystery in Fairday’s new home. I’m glad I won this in a Goodreads giveaway, and very pleased that I got to read it. Great stuff for kids!
… (més)
Matt_Ransom | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Oct 6, 2023 |
The book grabbed me at the beginning. For some reason, I struggled to read it; I am in a Nancy Drew loop and reading a Young Adult mystery novel in the 20th century was a bit off putting. Yet after reading it, I wanted to turn around and read it again. The creator of Nancy Drew would be proud.
1 vota
seki | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Jan 31, 2016 |
This novel is an old-fashioned ghost mystery.

Fairday Morrow’s parents have moved her from her home in Manhattan to a small town to renovate an old house into a Bed and Breakfast. Unknown to the family, the house has a sordid past. The owner’s daughter disappeared on her wedding day. The owner then died mysteriously by falling from the third floor balcony years later after being a recluse. No one has lived in the house since.

Fairday isn’t happy about leaving her best friend, but they are only an hour apart and can visit monthly. Upon arriving at the house, Fairday hears bagpipes and sees strange happenings. She and her best friend Libby had formed a detective society, so Fairday has all the equipment necessary to investigate. Fairday and her father discover the third floor behind a locked door. It’s here where a strange mirror shows a door that isn’t in the room. While babysitting her sister, Fairday looks over to check on her when she sees that she has gone into the mirror and is almost through the door. Scared, Fairday barely pulls her sister out. Luckily, her best friend Libby is to arrive to visit for the weekend. Once she arrives, they are joined by a boy Fairday has met at school whose father is part of the FBI. Between their packs of equipment, they are determined to uncover who the ghost is and what they need to do to be safe.

This is a fun mystery. I would be way too scared to live in this house. The ghost and the danger are too much for me. If you like mysteries and ghosts, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this story.
… (més)
1 vota
acargile | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Dec 30, 2015 |


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