Pick of the Day

Love, From A to Z by Robin Alexander

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ Robin Alexander books are like a carefully hoarded treat that we dip into when we feel rather deserving. Though this one was...

Girl Squad by Kim Hoover


This one is somewhere between The Five Find-Outers and Nancy Drew. The MCs are 15 and 16, so the target audience is not exactly YA. Given this context, it has the same simplistic approach and easy overcoming of impossibilities that those early detective novels had (which makes us wonder whether adults reviewing this novel is really a good idea). 

Set somewhere in the seventies (there is mention of the Stockholm Syndrome just having been introduced to the world, 2001: Space Odyssey, trying out for the 1976 Olympics) the book starts with Cal’s mom, Joyce, throwing her dad out and Cal’s life being upended. The three girls, Cal, her BFF Rachel, and new girl, Jane meet in a Bible camp. There is attraction between Jane and Cal right away and they spend quite some time together at camp. Cal doesn’t have the closest relationship with her mom, but doesn’t want to be with her dad either (the reason is never clear because her seems to be okay). One fine night, Cal’s mom disappears and her dad comes to get her. Instead Cal runs away to Jane’s place. The three girls set out to find Cal’s mom and keep getting deeper and deeper into a seemingly dangerous operation. In the meanwhile, Cal and Jane get closer and into a romantic and physical relationship (with the blessings of the BFF).

The ease with which the girls travel around, the lack of serious punishment for their transgressions (even coming in the way of law and breaking into a Ranger’s home), the complicity of at least some of the adults (Cal’s grandmom for example) et al are entirely the teen dream that make younger teens and kids think they want to be detectives. The romance is not really the focus of the book so the dewy-eyed sweetness of young love is missing.

The only issue dealt with some seriousness and depth is the way Jane’s mom reacts to Jane’s lesbianism and the showdown where Jane refuses to hide and be anything other than what she is.

This is definitely only for those between maybe 13 and 15 – and they will doubtlessly enjoy it – the mystery, the adventure and the tentative first explorations of sexuality.  


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