Scarlet and Ivy The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly

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Scarlet and Ivy The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Anne Thompson
Reviewed by Anne Thompson
Summary: The first in a new series, this mystery set in a creepy boarding school has all the ingredients you need for a successful adventure: a secret diary, an evil villain, midnight feasts, challenging clues and an intrepid heroine.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: February 2015
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0007589180

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Ivy's twin sister Scarlet had been the strong willed, fearless one whilst Ivy, on the other hand, was timid and shy. Following Scarlet's sudden death Ivy is forced to take her twin's place at the sinister Rockwood Boarding School for girls and once there she finds herself thrust into a mystery she struggles to solve. Her only hope is to behave as Scarlet would have done, so with the help of her new friend, Ariadne, Ivy attempts to conquer her fears and stand up to the wicked Miss Fox and discover what really happened to her sister.

Once at the school Ivy discovers that Scarlet has left a series of clues in the form of pages from her diary in various hiding places around the school. As Ivy, helped by Ariadne, attempts to solve the riddle not only does she have to contend with Miss Fox but another of the pupils, Penny, appears determined to make life difficult for her. Ivy’s Aunt Phoebe, although kind is oblivious to Ivy’s predicament and the only adult to offer any hope is the kind ballet teacher, Miss Finch. I particularly enjoyed the way in which Ivy's character develops as the story progresses. At the start she is quiet, reserved and lacking in self-confidence but her attitude changes as she becomes steadily more willing to take risks. It is as though she emerges out of the shadow of her more assured sister. Ariadne is a likeable sidekick with a slightly earnest demeanour who loyally supports Ivy in her quest. The puzzles the girls have to solve are intriguing and the narrative style enables the reader to feel part of the action, solving the clues alongside the characters.

The school stories genre has long been popular with girls of between 8 and 12 years old and it has been noticeable that there has been a recent flurry of newly published books on this theme. It is interesting to note that this debut is set in the 1930s rather than the present day. This enables all the traditional elements such as dodgy school dinners, midnight feasts, the caning for misdemeanours, the vetting of letters home (no mobile phones or e-mail!) and the absence of parents for long periods to be included and yet the girls themselves have the twenty-first century attitudes with which today's young readers will easily identify.

The action is fast paced with plenty of nail biting scenes to build up the tension but there are also passages that allow the reader to know the thoughts and motivation of the characters. This balance increases the feeling of engagement. This book will probably be popular with readers of nine plus and would be a good read for those wanting to move on from books such as The Malory Towers series.

Thank you to the publishers Harper Collins for providing this review copy.

If this whets a reader’s appetite for school stories I would recommend another recently published story set in a similar period, the excellent Murder Most Unladylike (Wells & Wong Mystery 1) by Robin Stevens.

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Buy Scarlet and Ivy The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Scarlet and Ivy The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Scarlet and Ivy The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Scarlet and Ivy The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly at


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