Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Ignored by her theoretical physicist parents, 11-year-old Friday Barnes has gotten used to going unnoticed, aided by her ordinary looks and brown cardigans. Having immersed herself in her family's extensive library, she has little to learn from teachers, so she devours detective novels during class. She has also watched so many Agatha Christie films "she was beginning to speak with a trace of a Belgian accent," and her newfound investigative skills help her solve a jewel theft. With the reward money, Friday funds a year of tuition at an elite boarding school, where she brushes off the taunts of her well-to-do classmates, cracks some outlandish cases, and bests her nemeses. Spratt's (the Nanny Piggins series) effortlessly funny narration will keep readers laughing from start to finish, and she gives Friday a wonderfully dry wit-one she isn't even aware of herself-to accompany her exceptional deductive powers and knowledge. Gosier's angular b&w cartoons don't draw much attention to themselves, but readers have plenty of reasons to look forward to future adventures from this irresistible young sleuth. Ages 8-12. Illustrator's agent: Jodell Sadler, Sadler Children's Literary. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 4-6-Nine-year-old Friday Barnes is used to being invisible. In fact she works hard at it. But when she uses the $50,000 she earned for solving a bank robbery in order to attend the exclusive Highcrest Academy, she discovers that her usual drab brown cardigans actually make her stand out from the other well-dressed students. She is soon noticed for another reason: her uncanny intellect and ability to solve crimes. Before long, she finds herself with a number of students willing to pay for her detective work, as well as her first nemesis: the handsome Ian Wainscott. Eventually even the headmaster asks for her help investigating sightings of a terrifying beast-man in the nearby swamp. The strength of this novel lies in its quirky, tongue-in-cheek writing style and pervasive humor. The characters are all delightfully eccentric, and middle grade readers will especially enjoy Friday's Holmesian analysis of the various crimes and the criminal's flaws, as well as the lengths she is willing to go in cracking the case (one episode has her trailing the school dog and sending his poop off to a lab in order to prove that he ate a fellow student's homework). The final mystery, focusing on the swamp yeti, is reminiscent of Scooby-Doo, with a surprise villain. The book ends with a cliff-hanger, followed by a teaser chapter from the sequel. Gosier's cartoony black-and-white drawings add appeal for a broad audience, although the vocabulary may make this a better fit for stronger readers. VERDICT A good choice for voracious readers who enjoy a blend of humor and mystery.-Ashley Larsen, Pacifica Libraries, CA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Friday is the youngest, most overlooked Barnes child. But being overlooked has given her the time to develop into a top-notch detective. After handily solving a particularly tricky jewel theft, she's given a hefty reward, and she's going to use it the best way she knows how: tuition for fancy boarding school. When she arrives, she discovers her new school is full of mysteries to be solved all for the right price. To do so, she must avoid cute but devious Ian Wainscott and keep from getting in so much trouble she gets expelled. That, and deal with the bully who convinces their classmates to cruelly ignore Friday. Spratt has created a sharp, plucky main character, whose brainy investigations and candid, sometimes tactless observations will appeal to mystery lovers of any gender. The diminutive detective's not so great at social conventions, which gives Spratt a great opportunity to playfully skewer stereotypical middle-school plots. Spratt's matter-of-fact tone and punchy sentences bring Friday to life, and the age-appropriate touch of romance is a sweet addition. With off-the-wall plot turns and small mysteries scattered throughout, this is the perfect choice for mystery fans with a silly sense of humor, and the cliff-hanger ending promises more sleuthing on the horizon. Gosier's black-and-white spot illustrations add to the charming atmosphere. A sheer delight.--Wildsmith, Snow Copyright 2015 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
She's only 11, but she's smarter and better informed than most adults, and she's determined to solve mysteries for a living. Friday's academician parents barely even know she's there, and that suits Friday just fine. She tries to avoid contact with people as she pursues her own interests, which include reading her parents' entire extensive library. But when she solves a mystery for her detective uncle and wins $50,000, she decides to spend it on a year in the area's most prestigious boarding school. There, she finds she can't blend in, but she also becomes embroiled in various mysteries that she solves with the aplomb of Sherlock Holmes. She irritates the school headmaster, among others, with her know-it-all attitude but makes a good friend in her roommate, Melanie, a girl who constantly notices small detailsa trait that will help Friday in her detective pursuits. From solving petty crimes and finding missing homework, she moves on to an enthusiastic investigation of the monster hiding in the school swamp. Spratt begins this new series with a nifty, engaging protagonist who can keep readers laughing and help young geeks feel good about themselves. Friday and Melanie make a great team that clearly will continue to detect their way through the coming sequel. Gosier's animation-inflected illustrations are a nice complement. Delightful, highly logical, and well-informed fun. (Mystery. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.