FICTION

A Talent for Trouble

HMH/Clarion. Nov. 2019. 272p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781328580788.
COPY ISBN
Gr 4-6–It’s been four years since Alice Mistlethwaite’s mum died. Her father Barney is an unreliable struggling actor who disappears for long periods of time, leaving her Aunt Patience to sell their home in the English countryside and send Alice to Stormy Loch, a boarding school in Scotland. At Stormy Loch everyone has a Talent, ranging from art to running. They have Challenges starting with the First Day Challenge, and all actions have Consequences. Alice makes friends with Jesse, a rule follower and map reader who she meets on the train, and Fergus, a rule breaker who is dealing with family troubles of his own. The three work as a team for the Great Orienteering Challenge but stray off course when a mysterious message from Alice’s father leads them into a dangerous mission involving international criminals and a chase on a remote island. While much of the story feels timeless, mentions of cell phones and computers make this a contemporary adventure.
VERDICT Readers will enjoy accompanying Alice and her friends on this fast-paced adventure.

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