Thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins plans to become a private detective like her grandfather. Stuck at her bullying cousin Gwendolyn’s Malibu estate for the summer, Skylar brings her detective kit, portable spy tools, and her journal for taking notes in secret code. She had no idea how dangerous the next eight weeks would prove to be. On the first day of summer school an odd classmate named Kat passes a note in backward writing, introducing Skylar to the secret world of witchcraft. Practical Skylar didn’t believe in magic—until the spells they perform in an abandoned garden actually begin to work. Skylar finds herself accepting the increasingly risky challenges made by her new BF, and when Kat tells her that a mysterious group is doing wicked things up in Shadow Hills at night, she can’t help but investigate. Her classmates are nervous and rumors are flying. The teen sleuth uses the tools in her detective kit and faces her most embarrassing fear to find the truth. If Skylar survives the summer, her life will be changed forever.
This was a very fun young adult mystery. It was reminiscent of the Nancy Drew novels I grew up reading. I loved
how Ms. Cross addresses the issue of bullying in this novel. Skylar learns to face her fears and stand up for herself through some strange circumstances but in the end she is a much stronger young girl because of it.
There are a lot of aspects in this book that address issues other young readers could be facing such as going to a new school, meeting new and differently abled people, and being away from your parents for a summer. Skylar uses the skills she learned from her grandfather to solve a mystery involving the strange noises coming from the hills behind her Aunt Caroline’s Malibu home.
This was a fun and interesting book and is the beginning of the Skylar Robbins Detective Agency series. It looks like there is another young female detective joining the ranks of the infamous Nancy Drew.
Carrie Cross is an avid reader who fell in love with books as a little girl after reading Goodnight Moon. She wrote her
first “book” at age four: Blackie the Little Black Dog and the Flying Washing Machine. Carrie discovered her love of mysteries reading Nancy Drew books and The Happy Hollisters series, and after writing THE MYSTERY OF SHADOW HILLS, she continues to look for clues in unexpected places to this day. Carrie Cross’s influences include Judy Blume,
Deb Caletti, Sarah Dessen, and Lee Child. In addition to writing Skylar Robbins mysteries and reading, Carrie loves to cook, hike at the beach, go boating, and travel. During a recent interview she was asked, “Where do you get your inspiration?” “When I was six years old, my parents decided we needed to buy a bigger house. We looked at a creepy
two-story in Santa Monica Canyon, and I played hide-and-seek with the little girl who lived there. There were closets and secret hiding places with doors that opened into other rooms. Later, I wondered, “What if there was a clue hidden in one of those closets?” And the idea for the Skylar Robbins mystery series was born. Skylar’s adventures continue in THE MYSTERY OF THE HIDDEN JEWELS. After she solves her second big case, the Skylar Robbins Detective Agency tackles THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING HEIRESS. Carrie Cross is currently at work on her fourth Skylar Robbins novel, THE CURSE OF KOMA ISLAND. Follow Carrie on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teendetectiveskylar and at