Sunday, June 9, 2013

Book Review: The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and a very engaging story
Cons: None as far as I can spy
The Bottom Line:
Twisting and turning
Well developed characters
This is one to read





The School Counselor Doesn’t Have a Secret, Does She?

In the last couple of years, I’ve met a couple of different debut authors just before their first book comes out.  The latest of these is Kristen Kittscher, and she was even nice enough to send me an ARC of The Wig in the Window in exchange for my honest review.  I am delight to say that honestly, I thought the book was wonderful.

Seventh grader Grace has decided that she is going to become an FBI agent when she grows up, and she and her neighbor and best friend Sophie have started practicing by spying on their neighbors.  Once night, they take on their neighbor Dr. Agford, the counselor at the school where Sophie attends.  When they witness something horrific through the window, they call 911.

However, there seems to be a simple explanation for all of it and Sophie gets in serious trouble for sneaking out of the house and making the phone call against the adult.  But things still seem off.  Is Dr. Agford up to something?  Can Sophie and Grace figure it out without getting into more trouble?  Will their friendship hold up under the strain?

Sophie is our main character for the book.  In fact, the story is told first person from her point of view.  It seems like an interesting choice early on since Grace is driving the plot at the beginning, but it quickly becomes clear that Sophie is the one with the biggest stakes in the story, so the choice makes sense.

Both of the characters are well developed, however, and I feel they grow as things progress.  The story has some high stakes, and the stress it puts on them and their friendship really is believable, but I love how they grow through it.  Rounding out the trio is Trista, a friend that Sophie makes at school over the course of the book.  The three are the strongest characters in the book, although everyone else is developed enough to fill their roll in the story, especially the mysterious Dr. Agford who is perfectly developed in her own way.

One more note on the characters and then I’ll move on, I promise.  Grace is homeschooled.  Since I was homeschooled for a number of years myself, I found that cool.  And I loved how her character was shown as a result.  No stereotypes at all to be found here.

The plot is great.  It is interesting right from the start and quickly draws you further and further into the story.  I could really feel the paranoia and sense of danger that Sophie dealt with, and as the book progressed the tension grew.  The target middle school audience will love it.  As the twists came, I believed every one of them.  I read the last 120 pages in one big gulp, not able to put it down because I had to know what would happen next.

And the writing is solid.  This is a polished debut that will draw the reader of any age in and not let you go.  Obviously, the book is aimed more at girls than boys, although I was a voracious enough reader as a kid I would have loved this one anyway.

This is the first in a planned series of mysteries for middle school readers.  I don’t know how Kristen Kittscher can top this book, but you’d better believe I will be along for the ride.  The characters are that great.

So if you are looking for a great new mystery series for your kid or someone you know, The Wig in the Window is perfect.  Just set aside some time to read it yourself.  You’ll enjoy it as much as they will.

This is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.  Be sure to visit host Shannon Messenger to find the other entries.

4 comments:

  1. Oh, this sounds awesome! I will definitely be looking for it at my library. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Cindy

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    Replies
    1. It really is. I hope you can find it and enjoy it as much as I did.

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  2. I love mysteries and this one sounds great. I like the title too. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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