Parents' Guide to

Friday Barnes, Girl Detective

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Smart girl solves boarding school mysteries in fun romp.

Book R. A. Spratt Mystery 2016
Friday Barnes, Girl Detective Poster Image

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This fun romp from Down Under has boarding school shenanigans, sinister goings-on, a brilliant, socially clueless detective, and a posse of cartoonishly over-the-top rich kids. First published in Australia in 2014, Friday Barnes, Girl Detective has funny, cartoon-like illustrations by comic artist Phil Gosier. Between the academic references, pop-culture shout-outs, and fondness for big words, this probably isn't the book for reluctant readers, but it's a likely hit with kids who revel in clever language and ridiculous situations. Like this one, explaining Friday's early start in staying unnoticed:

"On the due date, [Mrs. Barnes] was committed to speak at a conference in Bern, Switzerland, about the possibility of the International Super Collider opening a black hole and destroying the planet. For the first time in her adult life, Mrs. Barnes saw her ironclad grasp on order and reason begin to slip.

"Mr. Barnes was, however, a man of action. That is, if the action did not require him to leave his office or get up from his desk. He Googled 'Bern' and 'maternity hospitals.' They discovered that there was one just two miles from the conference center. Mr. and Mrs. Barnes both breathed a sigh of relief. From that moment on, life proceeded exactly as if Friday did not exist."

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