Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 204
It's elementary... in high school
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
In this fourth book set at Reginald R. Hero High, we meet Huck and Win, the brother of Curtis from Talk Nerdy to Me. Huck has struggled with coming to the school a bit later than most students, and has tried not to draw attention to himself. Once he takes a video in class of his teacher Mr. Wilverton calling on more male than female students and accidentally sends it to everyone instead of just a few friends from his old school, this ends. He feels bad that Clara, whom he has taped slumping in defeat when she is not called on, has this image turned into a meme, and he's less than thrilled when his "corrective punishment" is making a video highlighting the best parts of Hero High. At the same time, his language arts teacher, Ms. Gregoire, encourages him to read Sherlock Holmes. When Curtis sets up Huck with his brother, Win, the two boys start a tentative relationship. When Win has trouble with both a transfer application and then with a fake iLive account, the two use the hints they get from reading Holmes to investigate and try to figure out what's going on before the application deadline passes.
Good Points
This had a lot more clues and detection than the other books in this series, and embraces a new type of mystery that is becoming popular-- cyber mystery. There are some strong middle grade titles that cover various aspects of this, like Skovron's more spy related The Hacker's Key or Korman's social media heavy Linked. This is more along the lines of Calonita's The Retake, and I loved that technology is portrayed as something that can be useful (like exposing the sexism in the classroom) but can also be problematic. Since technology and social media is such a big part of students' lives these days, it's great to see it incorporated into the literature.

Huck and Win are both very appealing characters. The two share a lot of awkward moments at first, and it's interesting to see Huck's insecurity. The two start a relationship and learn each other's preferences and habits, and slowly get closer. This reminded me a bit of Barakiva's One Man Guy, and is a great addition to a slowly growing genre of romances with LGBTQIA+ characters. I did appreciate that the characters were in high school, but there wasn't a lot of hard partying of other details that would be challenging for middle school students. The best part of this was that this wasn't a coming out story; the romance was just woven into the plot.

The Sherlock Holmes stories are woven into the plot nicely, and there's the touch of Ms. Gregoire's magic that hovers over all of the activities. This series can be read independently, but I like the idea of reads who start with this book being intrigued and going back to pick up the others.
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