Title: I SO Don't Do Mysteries
Author: Barrie Summy
Date of Publication: December 9, 2008
Recommended to: Tween girls, 10-13
Sherlock ("Sherry") Holmes Baldwin is not the mystery-solving type, despite her name. In fact, she's the polar opposite of Nancy Drew: she'd rather spend her time gorging on Oreos, shopping at the mall, hanging with her nerdy-but-sweet best friend Junie, trying to avoid her new stepmother, and fantasizing about her major crush, Josh Morton. But then Sherry's former cop of a mom suddenly contacts her from the ghost world and requests her assistance: she's flunking out of the Academy of Spirits, and needs Sherry's help to solve a mystery that will secure her a spot in a successful afterlife. Unfortunately, Sherry so doesn't do mysteries, but before she knows it, she's being whisked to San Diego, California, with Junie and her bratty teenage cousin to solve a conflict that includes a poacher, a bunch of innocent rhinos, a chef looking for revenge, and a group of crazy old people! Can Sherry save her mom's afterlife, save the rhinos, and get Josh to like her back? It's going to be one crazy spring break...
First off: I gotta say that I love Sherry: she's positively hilarious. She's realistic and always comes up with the craziest lies and smartest plans. Ms. Summy's dialogue is straight-to-the-point and realistic, with teenager lingo and great details. The plot flowed smoothly and was easy to get into: from the exciting climax on, it was extremely difficult to put the funny, cute book down. I loved all the crazy characters and their actions, which sometimes had me cracking up (Old people plotting serious revenge? Crazy chefs? What isn't there to love?).
Perhaps my most favorite aspect of the story was how unique I SO Don't Do Mysteries was. The plot was totally different from any other YA book I've ever read: Ms. Summy incorporated romance into the storyline without it being trashy; the mystery that needed to be solved was fresh and serious but at the same time funny; and the way the strong, funny characters handled things was absolutely refreshing. I also enjoyed how you could clearly hear Sherry's voice in the narration: it was positively fresh and real. All in all, I give Barrie Summy's upcoming mystery (it officially comes out in 5 days-and I know Barrie's having a countdown on her blog) two big thumbs up and can't wait to check out the sequel (coming out in mid-2009, or so I heard), I So Don't Do Spooky. Hopefully it will be as good as the first!