Review Detail

interactive middle grade mystery
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
STOLEN FROM THE STUDIO is a fun middle grade mystery with a choose-your-own-adventure plot. Carlos travels with his mother, a detective, BFF Eliza, and her brother, Frank, to the set of a TV show, Teen Witch, where the star Layla has gone missing. Carlos's mother doesn't seem to recognize his skill as a detective, so he sets off with Eliza and Frank to solve the mystery on their own. Readers will flip through the pages as they pick their next steps- sometimes with dead-ends (Case Closed!) and plenty of puzzles to solve along the way.

What I loved: The fun of a choose-your-own-adventure is in directing the characters, and this book features a ton of choices. Aside from the beginning passage which is several pages, the rest are relatively short, no more than a few pages, before you are able to make another choice or solve a puzzle to find out which page to go to next. The puzzles are a particularly nice touch as they add to the fun with an interactive element to the book (with hints for how to solve if needed). The story is engaging, and the mystery will take readers on the path to solve it.

What left me wanting more: I found that I kept hitting dead-ends without solving the case, so I had to back-track a lot and pick another path. I found that it worked best if I used a bunch of book marks, so I could remember where the last step or two I took was. This could be pretty frustrating but does add to the length of the story the reader experiences in the search to solve the case. Case Closed does not always mean that the case is solved, but that Carlos got caught and kicked off the case or trapped or something else along those lines.

Final verdict: STOLEN FROM THE STUDIO is an engaging middle grade mystery with cool interactive puzzles and choose-your-own-adventure style writing. Recommend for readers who enjoy stories that you dive into and participate in.
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