Alice Jones: The Ghost Light by Sarah Rubin
|Alice Jones: The Ghost Light by Sarah Rubin|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: There's drama on and off stage in this, the second adventure for brainiac detective Alice. The old theatre is full of dark corners, dust and menace, and the company risks far more than a couple of bad reviews if she doesn't work out what's going on, double-quick! Smart, sassy and determined, Alice is a heroine for bright girls everywhere.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: January 2017|
|Publisher: Chicken House|
|External links: Author's website|
Actors are superstitious creatures at the best of times, but it doesn't help that the cast (including Alice's twin Della) is rehearsing in a historic old theatre once ravaged by fire and haunted, so they say, by the ghost of a former leading lady. After a spate of inexplicable and apparently random accidents threaten the show Alice's sister insists she investigate and stop the culprit before someone is seriously hurt. But can it all be blamed on the shady businessman who wants to tear the place down and build a multi-plex instead, or is the explanation something a good deal more spooky?
It's so good to read stories about girls whose brains don't prevent them from having friends, not to mention a range of other interests and abilities. True, Alice's favourite activity at the moment is reading about Fermat's Last Theorem - not that her rather zany family gives her much time for that - but she's happy to volunteer her time doing backstage work at the Beryl, she's capable of vaulting onto the stage when the need arises, and despite her vertigo she will grit her teeth and brave the dizzy heights of the catwalk to solve a mystery. And let's face it, Mr I-get-by-on-sheer-charm Kevin is hardly likely to team up with a mere bookworm now, is he? The adventure moves along at a fair lick but – and this is one of the really excellent features of this book – nothing occurs which isn't firmly based in everyday life. No mysterious villains intending to take over the tri-state area here, no ninja assassins lurking in the shadows and no secrets uncovered by sheer fluke or coincidence: Alice uses the logic of her mathematical brain to work things through until no other solution is possible. In other words, her readers will easily picture themselves in her place, chasing clues and making connections. It's no wonder this series is commended for readers who believe STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is as much for girls as boys.
Any book worth its shelf space should stand alone – providing a good read even if you haven't come across the earlier stories. There's no doubt that this book qualifies on that count, but Alice and her sidekick Kevin are such engaging characters that you'll definitely want to read Alice Jones: The Impossible Clue as well, if only to discover how two such different people became friends. And it's not because of Kevin's prowess at spitballing!
Want to read more stories about clever kids? Have a look at the excellent series written by Peter Jay Black. One of his heroines, Charlie, would fit right in with the STEM programme: she's a total gadget queen who can make or restore anything from a computer to a motor bike. Start with Urban Outlaws, then move on to Blackout. The sheer pace of events and constant peril faced by Charlie and her friends mean you won't be able to rest till you've read Lockdown, Counterstrike and finished up with Shockwave. Even the book titles are thrilling!
You can read more book reviews or buy Alice Jones: The Ghost Light by Sarah Rubin at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Alice Jones: The Ghost Light by Sarah Rubin at Amazon.com.
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