Category Archives: Ages 9-12

Ages 9-12

Half Moon Investigations

After Artemis I figured I’d check out Eoin Colfer’s other books too. I’ve been a sucker for Holmes (and Poirot, Kudo, et al) for ever, and so immediately hit upon this one. Schoolboy detectives? Oh yes. I was expecting something similar to Artemis, and Fletcher Moon isn’t, but his story was really something too.

Author: Eoin ColferHalf Moon Investigations (UK Hardcover Edition)

Summary: Junior high student Fletcher Moon – nicknamed “Half Moon” thanks to his diminuitive size – is a fully qualified detective just looking for a case. Unfortunately, even doing something as simple as finding lost trinkets is enough to end him in hot water, on the run from the police with an unexpected partner and framed for arson. Going undercover as part of the local mob family, Half Moon unravels the most incredible of plots, at great cost to himself.

Two Cents: While I liked Red and a few others, the sheer number of characters coming at the reader is a bit hard to take in at first, especially since the narrator (Fletcher) doesn’t really know any of them well. That aside, the narrative voice is funny and glib. Glad I read this, and I definitely liked the concept, though as far as I know there aren’t any additional Half Moon books planned. Detective stories are popular in the 9-12 age group and Colfer’s has been executed better than most, with an complex but not difficult to follow plot and an exciting undercover operation. Most mystery novels don’t give the detective a chance to develop his personality, which is probably why Fletcher appealed to me.

Recommended For: 10-12 range, fans of Artemis Fowl,  fans of Hardy Boys or Holmes. Has all the qualities of an adventure novel with mystery and spy elements thrown in.

Personal Rating: 8/10

Links to Buy: Amazon US / CA / UK

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Beneath the Crown: The Princess In the Tower

 I’ve had an affinity for Marie Antoinette since watching Rose of Versailles two years ago, and now I can’t stop myself from reading everything about her that I can lay hands on, including this very well-researched historical YA novel about daughter Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte. It was initially titled The Dark Tower and later added to the Beneath the Crown series with The Nine Days Queen and The Last Duchess.   

The Princess in the Tower, 2005 Hardcover EditionAuthor: Sharon Stewart

Summary: The story of Marie-Thérèse from her preteen years up to and including her imprisonment in the Temple Fortress. With as much historical accuracy as possible, the author explores Marie-Thérèse’s life at Versailles and her friendships and relationships as the French Revolution occurs and the monarchy is abolished.

Two Cents: Historical fiction seems to be pretty popular nowadays, between The Royal Diaries and Dear Canada and this. I’ve always liked it; especially when it’s accurate, so after finishing this book I did a little Internet research and was impressed to discover the amount of research the author had done to make it as realistic as possible. The voice of Marie-Thérèse is compelling and developed despite the quick passing of weeks and months between scenes.

Recommended For: Ages 11 and up. Even told from a child’s perspective, the Revolution up close isn’t a pretty thing – plenty of death and heartache and (nondescriptive) beheading. Still an excellent read, great for kids who are into history already and those who have trouble finding it interesting.

Personal Rating: 8/10

Links to Buy: Chapters / Amazon US / CA

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Filed under Ages 9-12, Title Reviews