Thursday, March 15, 2018

Framed by James Ponti

I was a little skeptical of this mystery, despite Ms. Yingling's recommendation. The cover just didn't really grab me and I wasn't sure we needed another art heist book. But it turns out, we do need this one! It's not only a great middle grade read, it's just a great read in general and I enjoyed it myself.

The book starts abruptly with middle schooler Florian's abduction of Romanian gangsters. Fade to black and the real story begins... Florian has moved (again). His parents, both involved in art and security, move frequently. Florian has developed T.O.A.S.T. to pass the time and amuse himself more than anything else. The Theory Of All Small Things has helped Florian figure out an art heist in the past and, to his surprise, garners him a new friend in the form of soccer-playing, African-American Margaret. The two are surprised (and somewhat thrilled) to get swept up in an art heist, as well as the search for Margaret's unknown birth parents.

Along the way we find out why Florian has been kidnapped, solve several individual mysteries, go along on some exciting adventures, especially when Florian gets picked to be a consultant to the FBI, and even see Florian starting to enjoy typical school-kid life, for the first time.

The mystery is really well done, with lots of clues and twists, but not so many that you spend half the book trying to break codes (not a pastime I personally enjoy). There are unresolved issues left (what will Florian tell Margaret about her parents?) that leave room for a sequel. Florian isn't stuck-up or obnoxious; he makes mistakes, uses his theory incorrectly, does stupid stuff and gets in trouble, but also respects Margaret's intelligence and skills and treats her as a full partner.

Verdict: This is a great mystery series I can't wait to introduce to my middle grade readers. It's definitely going on the list for our mystery month for book club!

ISBN: 9781481436304; Published 2016 by Aladdin; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Purchased for the library

No comments: