Friday, April 13, 2012

Girl Pick: Sleuth or Dare: Partners in Crime



Sleuth or Dare: Partners in Crime
by Kim Harrington
Scholastic Press
Available May 2012 (date from inside arc)
192 pages

Cute and quirky, smart and appealing, fun and entertaining, Kim Harrington appears to have cornered the market on the mystery/sleuth novel for tweens.

Best friends Darcy and Norah--who couldn't be more NOT alike--have to stick together for a school assignment. They are to create a school project of a "fake" business. The BFFs decide on a "fake" detective agency that they christen "Partners in Crime." Darcy, resident computer nerd, will design the website and help with the technology end of the presentation; Norah will give the presentation to the class.

Imagine the girls' surprise when all their classmates hang on their every word and applaud their idea! The girls are even more flabbergasted when someone emails them with a "real" case for their agency. Darcy and Norah must track down who wrote them an email pleading with them to help find her missing sister.

Darcy uses her computer geek skills and Norah uses her sleuthing skills to figure out that cute and popular cheerleader Fiona is probably their client. They confront her quietly and she caves. She has found two birth certificates and two pictures of babies. She knows she must have been a twin and begs the "detectives" to find out what happened to her missing twin.

The girls have to tippy-toe around because Fiona warns that her parents are super-overprotective and almost creepily stealthy when talking to "strangers." When someone emails the girls to back off the Fiona case, it makes them mad and instead of scaring them, it puts them into high gear to find the missing twin before it's too late! Darcy backtracks the email and uses super-techy stuff to find who emailed them--but the IP address if encrypted! This tells the girls that they are dealing with someone who has super-secret access and technology--someone who is probably inside the government.

Goth girl, computer geek Darcy dresses only in black and purple and her parents encourage her wired behavior. She not only has a computer in her room, but a cell phone and all kinds of "spy" ware and toys to help the budding wannabe detective. Norah, on the other hand, is an astronomy nerd who finds comfort in star-gazing. Her parents are strict and don't permit cell phones and have the computer located in the den where they can monitor its usage. Readers will love both characters and likely find a friendship with each of them.

Spot-on dialog and geeky girl detective behavior will have readers clamoring for more, more, more! The return of the girl detective is here and now.

Highly, highly recommended grades 4-up.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.






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