Summary: Mystery on Magnolia Circle
Mystery on Magnolia Circle begins with what seems to be the worst summer ever. Ivy’s summer plans are disrupted when she breaks her leg at the start of the summer before fifth grade. Her best friend Teddy is having it any easier as his dog is diagnosed with a terminal illness and has to be put down. But while Ivy is standing at her window, trying to make the best of the summer, she witnesses a possible burglary and that both kids off on a summer of solving a mystery — or is it?
This was a very surprising book. I can’t say too much without ruining the mysteries in the story, but one thing I enjoyed was Ivy’s personality. She’s smart, witty, and a tad sarcastic, without being unkind. She and Teddy have a sweet friendship (that is just a friendship). Her mom is also a psychologist, just like Riley’s mom in It All Begins with Jelly Beans. I like seeing parents with rarely represented professions in middle grade lit.
There’s also a bit of community, as the kids live on Magnolia Circle and they get involved in the life of one neighbor in particular. Another delightful element that takes several surprising turns is the mystery! When a series of robberies starts in the neighborhood, Ivy and Teddy get involved in solving it — particularly intrigued by the fact that a schoolmate seems somewhat intertwined in the situation. There’s also an interesting angle with Teddy’s dog that readers will enjoy.
Finally, I loved seeing Ivy learn how to be a better friend and manage her emotions better. The chapters have insightful titles and quotes attached. I looked forward to seeing which lesson Ivy learns in each chapter.
Overall: Mystery on Magnolia Circle
Mystery on Magnolia Circle is a young middle grade book (with a few illustrations) about a summer of solving a neighborhood mystery. Driven by a strong, smart female protagonist and featuring a heartwarming dog subplot, this book will appeal to readers who like gripping stories. It’s definitely for a younger age group, though, so I would recommend it for kids in grades 3-5.
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