Top positive review
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Cheerful and Creative With A Good Attitude
on 15 April 2015
Ben and Kiernan are packed off to Nan and Grandad's for the summer holidays and they aren't too happy about it. Older brother Kiernan has become distant from Ben, (as can happen with older brothers), and either teases or ignores Ben. Nan and Grandad are perfectly nice, but pretty boring. The neighborhood is populated exclusively by older individuals and couples, so there are no other kids around. You look at this setup and wonder just how interesting a book you're likely to get out of it. Well, it doesn't take too long for the pace to pick up, and then the book zips along ending up with a couple of nice resolutions.
Ben is our narrator. He's pretty alert and it starts to look to him like things aren't as placid in the old Honeypot Grove neighborhood as he first believed. There are strange goings-on, furtive late night movements, odd behavior, and unusual activity. (MILD SPOILERS?) It's probably not giving anything away to tell you we are talking secret agents and skullduggery here.
There are a number of things that especially recommend this book. Eventually Kiernan gets caught up in the adventure and he and Ben become teammates and partners. So, instead of dreary sibling rivalry we get much more of a gung ho boy's own adventure with two agreeable brothers. That's much more satisfying. The plot is silly, but not frantic-zany silly, which some authors seem to feel is necessary to keep a young reader's attention. This one is implausible and over the top, but so are most superspy movies. The old people are spry, smart and resourceful. There is some initial whinging by Ben about old fogies, but that blows by pretty quickly. There are some very smart and creative moments. The spy equipment scene is a funny send up of the old "Q" scenes from the Bond movies, and there is some snappy dialogue. That said, this is still aimed at younger readers, so everything is a bit shallow and you have to take a lot of the plot on faith. But plot and plausibility aren't the point here; adventure and fun is the goal, and for an early reader it seems to me that this book would have a lot of appeal.
Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.