Thursday, August 19, 2021

ARC Review: Soccer Trophy Mystery by Fred Bowen (9/1/2021)

Fred Bowen's Sports Story Series is celebrating 25 years in 2021 with a brand-new title in a brand-new genre: Soccer Trophy Mystery! Aiden and Ava, twins who both play soccer, are hoping their respective teams will make it into the upcoming championships. When they visit the library one afternoon, they learn that the trophy they both hope their teams will win is not the town's original soccer prize; rather, the original was stolen 40 years ago and never turned up. Intrigued, Aiden and Ava and their friend Daniel decide to investigate. To their surprise, their quest for a suspect with both motive and opportunity leads them very close to home.

This is the first book in this series with a mystery plot, and as such, it wasn't the strongest mystery novel I've ever read. It could have used more suspense and less predictability. The strengths of Bowen's other books are present in this one, too, however, and they mostly make up for the weakness of the mystery. There are plenty of scenes of sports action on the soccer field, lots of connections to sports history, including the history of women's sports, and the adult characters are supportive, interesting, and involved. The transitions back and forth between the sports scenes and the sleuthing felt a bit awkward at times, and the resolution of the mystery felt a bit forced, but neither of these things should be enough to turn off fans of the series. I also love that this book stars boy/girl twins! Since my twins were born, I've discovered that books about twins are harder to find than I would have expected.

Fred Bowen is an author I trust implicitly. He's never published a book I would call inappropriate and every story combines subtle opportunities for character education with strong writing and engaging storylines. Though the characters in this book are thirteen, I wouldn't hesitate to hand this to a strong reader as young as 7 or 8. All young readers can learn something from this and each of Fred Bowen's books.

No comments:

Post a Comment