I really liked the narrative style, and when I saw a new book by the author, I had to pick it up. It was a great decision as I immediately realised. It was a rapid read, I read it in one sitting thins morning between breakfast and lunch. Considering it is a book aimed at pre-teens, I should not really pat myself on the back too hard about being so quick.
Despite its size, it packs a punch. It has all the ingredients that make for a great read, great characters, a unique storyline, lots of feelings and a smooth but entertaining narrative voice. Nellie is a cub reporter, she has never seen herself as anything else since both her parents were reporters and talked to her as (almost) one adult to another. She is resenting her move to the middle of nowhere – Bear Creek and a sudden shift in lifestyle. Nellie did not have many close friends previously and is a chronic overthinker whose parents have helped streamline the thinking, but it is still there. She has her own hurts to bear but is starting to learn that others may have many layers as well. She finds a case to investigate, a role to play in setting up a newspaper and making friends along the way. There are parts of the story that adults may find obvious but is hidden well enough to surprise younger audiences, or at least I feel that would be the case. Nellie is such a flawed protagonist, intelligent but not all-knowing as she learns slowly but surely, an example that can help children see beyond themselves without sounding even the tiniest bit preachy. I do not want to describe her gang of friends because I think it is a crucial part of the story itself.
It is a very concise plot, and I was overjoyed (to say the least) when I saw that there is a sequel in the works in the series. I would highly recommend it to anyone of any age to read. I felt refreshed after I set it down and that in itself is a rarity.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience of this and one of the author’s previous work.