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Summary: Six months ago, Jackā™s father was killed in an oil rig accident that left Jack (age 12) angry, hurt, and confused. His mom, a professional photographer, hoped this trip to Shetland would help Jack deal with his pain. As luck would have it, his neighbor Izzie, a 12-year-old, befriended him. Izzie told him about a smuggling ring using Shetland for the illegal smuggling of exotic creatures: Tarantulas, Lizards, Scorpions etc. Jack and Izzie set out to investigate. Will these two friends be able to save the rare and exotic creatures or will they mysteriously disappear? This is a middle-grade adventure mystery.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 8 to 13
Interest Level: 9 to 12
Reading Level: 2.7
Age of Child: Reviewed by students at North Junior High School, St. Cloud, MN, as part of the Use Your ABCs program.
Young Reader Reaction: I didn't like this book because the story isn't that great and there were some things that didn't make sense. The first chapter was boring and it got a little more exciting after, but not by much. There were things that were irrelevant.
Adult Reader Reaction: This teen mystery offers a rich story with delightful characters and an imaginative plot. This is really a worthwhile read. It captures the readersā™ attention on the first page and never lets go. The plot is intriguing, the characters are believable, and the pace is quick.
Pros: This is a believable mystery/adventure story that will keep the reader engaged for hours.
Cons: It didn't make sense all the time.
Borrow or Buy: Adult reviewer: Buy. It grabs the reader immediately and you don't want to put it down. This book belongs on the readerā™s bookshelf, and if not there, it should be available at the local school or community library collection.
Student reviewer: Skip. It lost my interest through most of the book.
Educational Themes: This is an excellent contribution to the field of adolescent literature. It is a believable story that readers will enjoy. The characters are real and there are plenty of opportunities to use the story for its therapeutic value. There are dozens of ways to use the book as a resource for group discussion.
Notes: The author donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub, Inc. This is an unsolicited donation.
Literary Categories: Fiction - mystery, adventure
Date(s) Reviewed: June 2009, November 2009
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