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Author: Mary Downing Hahn

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Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Logan learns that the woman who previously lived in the house his family just bought, died. Arthur, the boy next door, is convinced she was murdered. The two set off to try and solve this mystery. However, there are many obstacles in their way. Is the defunct amusement park, The Magic Forest, somehow linked to the crime? Can the boys outsmart all the adults that are trying to hinder their search? This is a middle-grade mystery thriller.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 13; read yourself: 9 and up

Interest Level: 9 and up

Reading Level: 4.4

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: This book was amusing, but I felt the action was lacking, particularly the "mystery" part. The ending had a twist, but it was not very expected. I would recommend this book for middle school students, and as a book to be borrowed from the library.

Adult Reader Reaction: I liked this book. It flowed well, and kept the reader's attention. It was a good mystery — scary but not too scary. Boys would like this book more than girls. I like that it’s aimed at boys, and shows positive ways to deal with issues like change, friendship, and problem solving.

Pros: This book is a quick-paced, action-packed mystery. I liked everything about it.

Cons: The only con I can think of is that one of the characters (a mom) gets beaten up by her ex-husband. I’m not sure it was necessary to have that in the book.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This book would be a great addition to a school library/public library. It may not become a classic, but it definitely was worth reading. I am going to give it to both my 13 year old, and my 10 year old.


Educational Themes: Although this isn't an explicitly “educational” book, there are lots of social themes throughout the book: new kid in town, bullying, parent/teen relationships, and the ups and downs of friendship.

Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from the local library.

Literary Categories: Fiction - mystery, friendship, family, middle grade, young adult

Date(s) Reviewed: April 2010, April 2013

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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