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Jackaby, Book 1
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jackaby is a fantasy detective story about solving a serial murder case. There's some light horror, and some scary, supernatural events and creatures endanger the heroine, Abigail. The murder victims are only briefly described, but blood's mentioned a lot and it's clear they met gruesome ends. There's also a violent fight with gunshots, impaling on a sword, and violent blows, with the pain and suffering of injuries fully conveyed. Otherwise there's very little of concern, only a few mild swear words with "ass" being the strongest and one instance of Abigail slowly sipping ale.
What's the story?
After traveling across Europe, Abigail Rook sails to New England in search of fresh adventure. With no luck finding a job in a strange place, she responds to an ad for an investigative assistant and meets the eccentric Mr. Jackaby, a private investigator who describes himself as a man of science who sees things others do not. Abigail's first day on the job lands her right in the middle of a murder investigation, and when a second victim is discovered, the only thing that's clear is that there are powerful, otherworldly forces at work.
Is it any good?
William Ritter's debut novel introduces a colorful, eccentric new detective whose mysterious antics confound and intrigue. Throw in a plucky, young, new assistant and some deliciously creepy supernatural chills and thrills -- heroine Abigail is believable and compelling as the reader's entree into a delightfully chilling murder mystery -- and teens and tweens who can handle some light horror are in for a real treat.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why we like to read supernatural stories. Why are they so popular?
Jackaby says he's a man of science who sees things others don't, such as magical creatures. How does he show his scientific side? Are science and magic equally important to Jackaby?
Why do you think Chapter 13 is just a note saying the chapter was omitted? Did reading the note make you curious? Puzzled? Why do you think the author included it?
- Author: William Ritter
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, History, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
- Publication date: September 16, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 15
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: October 07, 2014
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.