The Wig in the Window

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Wig in the Window Book Poster Image
Funny, suspenseful tale of smart tween spy girl and friends.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Grace is Chinese-American, and Sophie is fascinated by Chinese culture, so kids will  learn a little about some aspects of it. Sophie frequently quotes Sun Tzu and mentions tai chi moves, and concepts of yin-yang and feng shui are briefly explained. Beginning French vocabulary pops up a few times, and electromagnetic principles are touched on at one point. The book's not intended to educate kids, but it might provide a jumping-off point for further investigation.

Positive Messages

The central theme is don't jump to conclusions. Sophie learns this the hard way when her false conclusions cause big problems. Balancing this lesson with that of trusting your instincts, yourself and your friends is something kids will have to think about. (Still, at least one jumped-to conclusion turns out to be correct.)

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sophie, Grace, and Trista are great girl role models:  smart, active, independent, unafraid to act, and in Trista's case, gloriously self-confident. Boy role models fall a bit short. Sophie's crush, Rob, seems nice enough, although we don't get to know him at all. Schoolmate Trent is a full-on bully, mostly verbally, and suffers no consequences for it. Sophie's older brother, Jake, is mainly an annoyance but is capable of showing he cares. Her parents are largely absent, and she spends after-school hours with her nutty grandfather. Most adults are laughable, ineffective, or villainous. But Sophie's and Gracie's parents, while not often seen, are positive influences.

Violence & Scariness

The story has mildly violent and scary bookends but the bulk has no violence. An early spying adventure has violent imagery of someone hacking with a cleaver and of blood spattered all around, which is soon revealed to have been harmless. A past incident is related in which a high-school swim team is electrocuted, resulting in three deaths. A large man tackles a young girl, injuring her ribs and shoulders, although not seriously. In one confrontation, the girls are threatened with a gun; shots are heard but no one's injured. Grace is afraid of water, and in a  disturbing incident, she's repeatedly dunked in the ocean by an adult. Sophie knocks the adult unconscious by hitting her in the head with a boot heel.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Wig in the Window is a fun addition to the middle-school-spy-adventure genre, featuring admirable, smart seventh graders Sophie and her friends Grace and Trista, who take action when they suspect someone is up to no good. There's very little violence, though in one scene, a large man tackles a girl, but she's not seriously injured. In another, the girls are threatened with a gun. And in one disturbing incident, a girl is repeatedly dunked in the ocean by an adult before the adult gets knocked unconscious. There's a reference to a high-school swim team that was electrocuted, resulting in three deaths. The book's climax is a bit scary, with the girls in peril, but it's nothing tweens can't handle. Bodily function humor will keep younger readers laughing. There's some verbal bullying without consequences, perhaps because it doesn't seem to bother the bully's target.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 14 years old Written bySHADOWvampire October 26, 2019

A Great Tween Book

This book is ready good! I suggest this book for 8-14 year olds but I honestly think anyone could read it. It is funny, and a good mystery book. It has lots of... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old February 24, 2018

A wonderful and suspenseful must read; however, has some mature topics

I was just walking through the J Mystery section in the library one day and found this book, and I am not one to pass up a great mystery to read. I enjoyed this... Continue reading

What's the story?

Middle-schooler Sophie and best friend Grace love playing spy games. One night as they're out on patrol they think they witness a murder in silhouette through a neighbor's window. It turns out to be something quite different, but once their suspicions are raised about the neighbor, who is the middle-school counselor, Sophie and Grace won't back down until they get to the bottom of things. But in order to do that they're going to have to figure out whom they can trust -- no easy task when people aren't quite who they seem to be -- and whether they can trust themselves.

Is it any good?

Deftly written, THE WIG IN THE WINDOW is a delightful new addition to the genre of middle-school spy caper. It's funny, Sophie is a likeable and realistic heroine, and the plot will keep kids in suspense. Adults may recognize the similarity to Alfred Hitchcock's great Rear Window, neatly re-imagined for 8-to-12-year-olds.

Impressive first-time author Kristen Kittscher never talks down to kids, yet stays on target for the age group. She keeps the reader guessing without losing the story's thread and provides real page-turner excitement without being too scary or violent.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Familes can talk about the popularity of spy and detective stories, going all the way back to Sherlock Holmes. What makes them so appealing? Do you think people in the olden days liked them for the same reasons we do today?


  • Sophie learns it's not a good idea to jump to conclusions. But if her suspicions trun out to be right, what's so bad about jumping to conclusions?

  • Would someone in your school get away with name calling the way Trent does? Do you think his French class nickname bothers Sophie?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mysteries and girl detectives

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate