Review Blog

Jan 06 2016

Friday Barnes: No rules by R. A. Spratt

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Random House Australia Children's, 2016. ISBN 9780857987013
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Themes: Problem-solving; Detective story; School mystery; Humour. Friday Barnes is a student wonder - with amazing problem-solving and detective skills. However her fashion skills are suspect!
This is the fourth book in the Friday Barnes Series, and at the beginning of the book she is deported to Switzerland and spends a period of time in the no-man's land of the Airport in a citizen-less state. Her detective skills and ability to read clues help her to solve a diplomatic mystery. During this time away from her peculiarly run school, Highcrest Academy, a series of unusual and potentially disastrous events occur that have need of her remarkable detective skills. She returns to Highcrest in time to assist the famously good-looking Ian in clearing his name, to prevent the new Deputy Principal from introducing a new pedagogy of freedom and to assist the headmaster in restoring his school to its normal state of disorder.
This is another book that understands a younger reader's demand for adventure, mystery and young heroines. The adults in this book have a Dahl-esque incompetence needing the wisdom of the young Friday Barnes. It includes a series of mysteries and moves along at a rollicking pace, rarely bogging down in detail. [R. A. Spratt has written for Television, and the fast-paced, science themes would appeal to a reading audience that has grown up with TV entertainment.]
Recommended for readers aged 10+. This child-detective is aged 12, and the beginnings of romance are hinting their arrival. A young High School reader will still enjoy the implied quirky humour of this book.
Carolyn Hull

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