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If I could, I would review every book I read during the year, but I don’t think there’s enough time in the day.

So, I’m introducing Sidekick Reviews, a place where I can introduce you to a synopsis, a snippet of my thoughts, and my rating.

Or in other words, my own version of Captain Nosy’s osmosis superpower.

Up this week
[Each image will link you to the book’s Goodreads’ page]

Poison Most Vial by Benedict Carey

"Murder in the lab! The famous forensic
scientist Dr. Ramachandran is 
stone-cold dead, and Ruby Rose's father
is the prime suspect. It's one more 
reason for Ruby to hate the Gardens, 
the funky urban neighborhood to which 
she has been transplanted. Wise but shy,
artistic but an outsider, Ruby must 
marshal everything and everyone she can
to help solve the mystery and prove her
father didn't poison his boss. Everyone?
The list isn't too long; there's T. Rex,
Ruby's big, goofy but goodhearted 
friend; maybe those other two weird kids
from class; and that mysterious old lady
in the apartment upstairs who seems 
to know a lot about chemistry...
which could come in very handy."

source: Goodreads synopsis

Review: This was a fast and easy read considering the mystery story is pretty in depth.  Poison Most Vial is definitely a book that engages your brain, and even though there is a murder, there is nothing gruesome to be seen. If you have a child who likes science, this is definitely the book for them! Carey, a science reporter for the NY Times actually makes a topic I disliked in school, fun.
It would also be a great book to use for integrating language arts in middle school and to connect with science classes.
Published: April 1st, 2012
Age Group | Genre: MG | Mystery, Realism

Snatched by Pete Hautman and Mary Logue

"Roni Delicata is the pushy crime 
reporter for the school newspaper 
The Bloodwater Pump.Brian Bain is 
a quiet science geek who has a
tendency to blow things up. 
Ordinarily, they would have nothing
to do with each other. But today isn't 
an ordinary day: their snobby
classmate Alicia Camden has been 
snatched. Soon enough, Roni and
Brian are on the case. But as they 
dig deeper into the mystery, they 
find nothing by suspects: Alicia's 
hothead boyfriend Maurice, her 
creepy stepfather, and even Driftwood 
Doug, the hobo who always seemed to be 
watching Alicia from the woods. It's up 
to Roni and Brian to find Alicia and 
reveal the shocking secret that led
to her disappearance."

Source: Goodreads' synopsis

Review: Not one of my favorites. I felt that the mystery itself was less intricate then it could have been and actually easy to figure out. What frustrated me about the book is that the protagonists are teens but the book itself reads like a Middle Grade novel. The underlying plotline also deals with heavy issues that are essentially never addressed until the end pages, and I feel that the issue itself is one that needs to be addressed–at least in some sort of discussion.
However, I’m curious to read the two follow-up mysteries just to see if the plotting gets stronger.
Published: May 18th, 2006
Age Group | Genre: MG | Mystery, Realism

Hopeful Reading!