The Red Blazer Girls
by Michael Beil
Audio book from public library/
Purchased from Scholastic Book Fair
[#17 in my 75 Book Challenge]
Sophie, Margaret, and Becca are three normal seventh grade girls attending a normal Catholic school (St. Veronica’s) in New York City. One day they stumble upon an old woman with a puzzle to solve — a puzzle created twenty years before for her estranged daughter. The puzzle was never solved and Mrs. Harriman enlists the girls to go on the adventure and recover the hidden prize at the end.
The puzzles in the book range from word problems to literature trivia and math equations, and they are exactly appropriate for a bright middle school student. Unlike most of the books I read, this is quite solidly a middle grades novel. YA’s would be too mature for the story.
By far, I loved the characters the most. Sophie, Margaret, and Becca are normal girls that I would want to be friends with. They are bright, yes, but a little sassy and a little lost when it comes to boys. The narrator on the audio book, Tai Alexandra Ricci, nailed the voice and tone of the story without sounding too juvenile (unlike the obnoxious narrator in The Lightning Thief).
Final Grade: C While it was a cute story with likable characters, it didn’t blow my mind. I’m grading it as C against other middle grades fiction, not against all fiction, since the novel knew so clearly which audience it wants to reach. There’s a very small portion of middle-class middle-school girls who would appreciate the novel, and they would love it. I am not a middle school girl anymore, so it fell a bit short for me. This is a short-ish review because I just don’t have much more to say!