Saturday, May 1, 2021


by James Ponti
Recommended Ages: 11+

To most people, Florian and Margaret look like a couple of seventh grade buddies at a public school in Washington, D.C. To an elite few, they're a special projects unit for the FBI, using the "theory of all small things" (TOAST) to spot clues everyone else missed in cases ranging from international espionage to art theft. But now, they've been assigned to infiltrate an exclusive prep school, where a series of disruptive pranks seems to involve the President's daughter.

Somehow, the two junior sleuths have to find out whether Lucy (the first daughter) is being targeted by the pranks, framed for doing them, or possibly the guilty party. But at the same time, they have to keep up with school work, prepare for a talent contest and survive a social piranha tank of entitled jocks and mean girls. The plot thickens when they detect the presence of a secret society within the student body, which could mean even more trouble for Florian and Margaret. But the situation doesn't really hit full crisis mode until a friend of theirs disappears during a school trip to the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.

With plenty of juicy clues and puzzling mysteries to qualify as a detective thriller, this book and the series to which it belongs remain kid-friendly and full of spirited fun. The prank that made me laugh out loud was actually pulled by the main character, and if you don't love him by then, you'll love him afterward. I look forward to this series continuing.

This is the second "TOAST Mystery," between Framed! and Trapped!. Ponti is also the author of the "City Spies" and "Dead City" series.

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