Trouble at the Tangerine

Bloomsbury. Apr. 2024. 256p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781547611003.
Gr 3-6–Meet Simon Hyde—he’s on a mission to put down permanent roots in Rigby. Simon’s usual rules for new towns? “Blend In and Don’t Be Weird.” But after moving 27 times, as a part of his parents’ Hyde Go Seek travel blog, he’s tired of always being the new kid. This time, he wants a real home and genuine friends. Trouble is, some jewel thefts at his new apartment complex, Tangerine Pines, are getting in the way of Simon’s "Operation Rigby." He has already made friends with local petsitter Amaya and her “arch-nemesis” Calvin Morris, making Rigby feel like the home he has always wanted. But can Simon and his new friends solve the missing jewelry mystery before his parents get spooked, and he finds himself on the move again? Blending elements of mystery and realistic fiction, this title mixes a tight whodunit plot with common middle grade themes, such as growing up, fitting in, and developing friendships. The narrative centers around Simon’s quest for a permanent home, but a secondary conflict, the jewel heist, injects intrigue into the plot with each proceeding chapter. With chapters averaging between six-to-nine pages in length and maintaining a balanced level of suspense throughout, this would be an excellent choice for either a beginning of the year read-aloud or as an independent read for young mystery buffs seeking a longer text.
VERDICT An excellent purchase for middle grade mystery collections that will be an easy sell for kids and teachers alike.

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