The weekend of December 17, 2011, the National Post featured a bunch of review of new kids’ and YA books, all reviewed by their intended readership. The Books section featured reviews of This Dark Endeavour, Tilt and Shatter Me reviewed by twelve-, thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds. Among them, a very nice review of The Dead Kid Detective Agency by Ned Kelly (age 14), who I’m sure is no relation to Australia’s most notorious cop-killer:
The Dead Kid Detective Agency
By Evan Munday
Reviewed by Ned Kelly, age 14
The Dead Kid Detective Agency is about an outsider-Gothish girl named October Schwartz entering high school. October is the girl who wears only black clothes and eyeliner. While writing a horror novel in the cemetery next to her house, she comes across a squad of five deceased children. They come from different backgrounds and time periods, which gives the book a good dynamic. After the mysterious demise of the French teacher at her school — one of the few people she connected with — she manages to recruit the teenage ghosts to do a little detective work on the “accidental” death.
I think this book would really appeal to kids who enjoy fantasy, and a twist of the grim. The concept is pretty dark, but the book doesn’t go into too much gruesome detail. Even though October’s circumstances are not cheery, her high school experiences will be familiar to many kids.
I recommend this book to ages 12 and up. It deals with somewhat mature concepts and takes a while to get into. I wouldn’t say it’s a boy or girl book necessarily, because the plot doesn’t preach to one gender. The occasional analogy is really weird: For instance, the book describes cold weather as a Granny Smith apple left in the freezer. It’s not really my kind of book, but I still enjoyed it.