Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Friday Barnes Girl Detective by R.A. Spratt and Phil Gosier: Book Review
Friday Barnes: Girl Detective
Author: R.A. Spratt
Illustrator: Phil Gosier
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 2016
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Age: 8 to 12, Middle Grade
Possibilities soar when spunky eleven-year-old Friday Barnes solves a bank robbery and receives fifty thousand dollars as reward. Emboldened, she announces she’s sending herself to a boarding school with the money, Highcrest Academy. “But why,” asks her father. “Because I want to do something different,” Friday replies.
Friday’s parents and four adult siblings, all of whom are geniuses, have devoted themselves to studying theoretical physics. They only assumed Friday, also a genius, would do the same. Friday was born to her mother late in life, and with the exception of a doting uncle, often fends for herself alone. She even made an electric bicycle once when her parents failed to pick her up from school events. Friday’s vast knowledge from reading books and learning how things work has made her into a good debater—and a detective. Friday uses her gifts to convince her parents. Now the plan is to attend school unnoticed, so she can quietly observe and learn.
The first day at school goes wrong when a car accidentally bumps into her in the school parking lot. She is only slightly hurt, but word gets out she is different. Not only does Friday dress weird in brown cardigans, she is extremely smart. Acceptance comes from her equally geeky roommate Melanie, and oddly, from Friday’s ability to solve mysteries at school, one being the strange swamp yeti.
She ends up solving a diamond smuggling operation, but Ian Waitscott, the smartest and cutest boy in class remains her enemy. Unfortunately, Ian’s dad went to prison as a result of the bank caper Friday had solved earlier. When police arrest Friday at the end, readers may wonder if Ian played a role. The next edition reveals the outcome. A rollicking read overall, Gosier’s cartoon illustrations are entertaining and a good match. A cute story, and one I would give my granddaughter.