Friday, February 29, 2008

Karen Karbo

Minerva Clark Gets a Clue
by Karen Karbo
Recommended Age: 13+

Minerva Clark is a completely average 13-year-old girl living in Portland, Oregon. She hates her thick legs, her frizzy red hair, her big feet, and her freakish 5’8” height. She worries about pretending that Reggie isn’t her best friend (because he’s a boy) and that Hannah is (even though she is evil). She loves her pet ferret Jupiter, worships her glamorous cousin Jordan, and chafes under the parental authority of her three older brothers, who take turns bossing her around because her father is always out of town on business and her mother left them to teach yoga in Santa Fe.

But things are about to change for Minerva Clark. Big time.

The first hint of impending change comes when that perfect princess, cousin Jordan, is arrested right in front of Minerva, shortly after a vaguely suspicious bookstore clerk secretly slips something into Jordan’s hands. The third hint happens when the same bookstore clerk turns up murdered the next morning. That’s a pretty big hint. But in between is the second hint, and the biggest one of all, when an electrical shock fries the part of Minerva’s brain that worries about her imperfections. Unable to feel bad about things she can’t do anything about, Minerva suddenly finds herself able to do something about a surprising number of things...including the murder of bookstore Dwight and the framing of cousin Jordan.

It is fun to see the change that comes over Minerva after her accident. Fun for us readers, that is. It isn’t so much fun for her concerned brothers, who have never known her to lie, back-talk, and sneak around poking her nose into other people’s business so much. But seeing herself as “just right” soon leads other people to see her in a new light, too. Which would be all to the good, except for one thing: the killer is still out there, and he or she knows Minerva is getting too close for comfort.

I enjoyed Minerva’s adventure, especially as narrated by its increasingly mouthy and clever main character. If Minerva survives this book, and if you enjoy it as much as I did, you’ll probably be looking out for the next Minerva Clark mystery, coming soon in paperback: Minerva Clark Goes to the Dogs.

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