Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Down the Rabbit Hole: Review

Let me just confess up front...Young Adult literature is not my thing.  It wasn't really my thing back when I was in the appropriate age group.  And I certainly never sought books out because they were geared for me as a young adult.  The main thing I think about when choosing books to read is whether the story interests me...and the stories that have interested me most since I graduated from Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, the Chronicles of Narnia and the like (all read pretty much pre-fifth grade) have been stories about adults.  I'm sure there are all sorts of reasons for this...but I attribute it to the fact that for the longest time I was the youngest in our extended family and I spent a huge portion of my time with cousins, aunts, uncles and second cousins who were all much older than me.  Sunday afternoons were spent at Grandma's where all the adults would sit in the living room, around the card table, and at the dinner table sharing adult "stories."  These made up the narrative of my life.

So...when I pick up a Young Adult novel, there has to be a compelling reason. Sometimes it's because a title/cover just happens to catch my eye when browsing; sometimes one of my beloved fellow bloggers brings up a book that just sounds too good to miss; and sometimes my weakness for challenges makes me go out of my comfort zone and find a YA novel for one reason or another.  This time it's the Criminal Plots III Challenge sponsored by Jen.  Jen has asked us to read 6 crime/mystery novels from different categories....one of which is a YA crime novel.  Which brings me (the long way 'round) to Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams.

This is the first novel in his Echo Falls mystery series and features Ingrid Levin-Hill as a Sherlock Holmes lover who finds herself smack in the middle of her very own murder mystery.  Ingrid is thirteen, a whiz a soccer, miserable at math, and an aspiring young actress.  When her mother doesn't show up on time to take her from an orthodontist appointment to soccer practice, Ingrid attempts to walk to the soccer field.  That little detour from her usual routine brings Ingrid to the wrong side of the tracks in Echo Falls and sets up a meeting with Cracked-Up Kate, one of the town's unconventional residents.  Within twenty-four hours Kate has been murdered and Ingrid will realize that she has lost her lucky red soccer shoes at the scene of the crime.  An attempt to retrieve the shoes without running into the police (or anyone else who might be watching the crime scene) leads from one thing to another....and before she knows it, Ingrid is trying to emulate her favorite fictional detective and discover the murderer on her own.  But her snooping attracts attention and if she's not careful there just might be another murder that needs solving...her own!

This was a fairly enjoyable book.  It had a lot of action and it swept me right along.  I did spot the culprit early on, but that didn't bother me too much.  I liked Ingrid and I think Abrahams did a good job making her a fairly realistic teenager--although I do think the chief of police (father to Ingrid's soon-to-be first boyfriend--if I'm not misreading the signs) is a bit slow on the uptake in several scenes where he finds her out wandering about (looking for clues) when she obviously should have been either home in bed or off at school.  I also think it odd that a girl who loves the logical Holmes and his methods should be so dismal at math.  Not looking for a math genius here--but I'd expect a better showing.

I'm sure the rest of the series will be quite delightful and, although I probably won't be reading any more myself, I would definitely recommend the books to anyone who enjoys Young Adult novels and mysteries.  Three stars for a good solid read.


Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I liked your post...and review. With so many people enjoying YA, I have been very curious about it. And almost feeling the need to defend NOT enjoying YA too often.

But you said it very well.

fredamans said...

Knowing how much historical fiction you post, I am surprised and delighted by this review.

Bev Hankins said...

Freda--surprisingly enough (to me), it does have a historical twist to it. There is a mystery in the past tied to the current murder....