Down the Rabbit Hole:
An Echo Falls Mystery
by Peter Abrahams
ages 11 and older
Meet Ingrid Levin-Hill. She's 13 and she's busy. Really busy. There's soccer practice, school, her role as Alice in her town's production of "Alice in Wonderland" -- oh, and there's that murder she has got to solve.
Peter Abrahams usually writes thrillers for adults, but his first try at writing a mystery for kids is funny, scary, surprising and just about can't-put-downable. (Yes, I know that's not a word, but this book is so good it makes you want to create new adjectives.)
The mystery here involves the murder of a loony resident of Echo Falls, the town where Ingrid lives, and the fact that Ingrid has struck up a secret friendship with the woman before her death and the fact that Ingrid's soccer cleats are found near the body. As is common when teens are fighting crime, Ingrid brings along a friend. In "Rabbit Hole" it's Joey Strade, who has a crush on Ingrid and who happens to be the police chief's son. The fact that Ingrid and Joey become friends while Ingrid tries to avoid Joey's dad (who wants to ask her what her soccer cleats were doing at a murder scene) makes for some funny moments.
There's also a lot of humor in Ingrid's family, who may seem a lot like yours. Ingrid seems like a typical 13-year-old -- capable of mouthing off to her mom when she's feeling grumpy or stressed. And at some point we're betting you'll be talking to Ingrid's mother, begging her to stop nagging Ingrid about her retainer!
Abrahams's writing is so sharp that he makes readers really care about the characters in this book, even Nigel the dog.
A word of advice: Start this book early in the day. If you start reading at bedtime, you might not get to sleep!
-- Tracy Grant