Dear Scarlett by Fleur Hitchcock
|Dear Scarlett by Fleur Hitchcock|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Anne Thompson|
|Summary: An entertaining and exciting adventure with an engaging lead character, this story is told with warmth and wit and should appeal to tween readers.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 272||Date: February 2013|
|Publisher: Nosy Crow|
|External links: Author's website|
Shortly after her eleventh birthday Scarlett receives a mysterious box from her father who died five years earlier. The box contains a strange collection of items that provide Scarlett with clues to her father’s life. For years she has accepted the story that her father had been a notorious jewel thief but as she attempts to make sense of the clues it becomes apparent that maybe things were not quite as they had seemed. With the help of her friend Ellie, Scarlett sets off on an exciting and at times dangerous mission to discover the truth.
Was Scarlett’s dad really a criminal? Maybe he was a spy? As she tries to makes sense of the clues Scarlett’s life becomes more complicated. One of the teachers at her school appears determined to make life difficult for her and some of the other girls bully her too. Despite her initial misgivings about Ellie their friendship develops which is fortunate because it soon becomes apparent that there are other people who are extremely interested in Scarlett’s dad’s box and she will need all the help she can get as the excitement and danger mounts.
This is an entertaining story combining exciting adventure and modern family life in a way that I think will be popular with readers between the ages of about 8 and 12. Although a natural choice for fans of writers such as Jacqueline Wilson I think it would be a shame if boys were put off by the female protagonist. Scarlett is a bit of a tomboy and the story is told with both warmth and wit. There are some very amusing moments, I particularly enjoyed the penguin episode, and some quite tense passages too. I warmed to Scarlett who is both likeable and brave with a sense of fun; she is probably a character that young readers would empathise with easily too.
The relationships between the various members of the family are well written and the way in which these alter as the story progresses is well done. The author portrays step-families in a positive way and although Scarlett is no angel and makes some mistakes the story also demonstrates how someone can learn how to do the right thing but does not do so in a preachy manner. I felt that perhaps the villains were a little stereotypical but for this age group that is understandable. The relationship between Scarlett and her baby brother is charming and there is a sense of fun permeating the whole story which is appealing.
This is Fleur Hitchcock’s second book for children and I am delighted to discover a new author to recommend to tween readers. Thank you to the people at Nosy Crow publishers for sending this book to the Bookbag.
If you are interested in reading another humourous adventure story involving a girl dealing with family issues I would suggest How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant by Elen Caldecott
You can read more book reviews or buy Dear Scarlett by Fleur Hitchcock at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Dear Scarlett by Fleur Hitchcock at Amazon.com.
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