Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Alexis Tappendorf and the Search for Beale's Treasure by Becca C. Smith

Published by Red Frog Publishing

Well! Becca C. Smith certainly knows how to capture her reading audience. What a great ride! This Young Adult book is a real treat. Starting with Alexis' stormy feelings against her parents for going off to do "research" of an unknown nature and in an unknown location (to Alexis), she is determined to play the "abandoned" role to the hilt, especially spending the summer with Great Aunt Mae, who she has never met and lives on the opposite coast. As they drive from California to Virginia, she has plenty of time to stew about leaving her friends behind and having a horrible summer.

Once Alexis meets her Great Aunt Mae, as well as Olivia, a girl her own age, things look more promising. Little does she know the exciting adventure ahead of her. When Aunt Mae invites Olivia's family to come and live with her because of her father's serious heart condition, things really begin to look up. Already Alexis thinks of Olivia as a sister. Hearing the story of a hidden treasure, a pirate treasure at that, and a cipher keeping the secret unsolved,  the girls immediately start working on breaking the cipher to break the code and find the treasure.

In every town or mystery, there are always some bad apples, and in this town the baddest apple is the Mayor, supplemented in his quest for the treasure by his brother the Sheriff and using his son to spy on the girls. The kind of villain you love to hate. He is sure they have learned something he needs to know.

Alexis, working hard at the code, begins to think like her hero, Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, who looks at things from a different angle, or as Alexis says, "...outside of the box." Between the girls and borrowing Poirot's methods, their perception changes and clues begin to fall in place.

Very well-written, this book would be great for any age, particularly over 10 I would think. Had I read this as a child I can easily see myself wanting to find a treasure! This is a book I would definitely enjoy as a young person, as much as I enjoyed reading it as a grandmother, especially when Aunt Mae turns out to be so much fun and completely undauntable. Great action, great mystery, and enough danger and adventure to satisfy any age. I highly recommend this YA book, and it looks like a series is planned. What fun!

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