Thursday, April 30, 2009

First Clues Review: Silenced! by Bill Doyle

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

is delighted to introduce a new feature for our website, book reviews written by students. These students offer their unique perspective on the book in their review and provide a valuable resource to parents looking for new mystery adventures for their kids to read.

Silenced! by Bill Doyle

Silenced! by Bill Doyle
The Crime Through Time Series

Little Brown (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-316-05738-X (031605738X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-316-05738-7 (9780316057387)
Publication Date: July 2006
List Price: $5.99

Review written by Kaitlin, Age 13, Grade 8. Date of review: April 2009.

Review: Silenced! is part of the “Crime Through Time” series, written by Bill Doyle. It is written as the journal of Malcolm Moorie, the main character. This is the third book in the series, but each story is told by a different person, so the books do not need to be read in order.

Silenced! takes place in 1969, when Malcolm enters a new boarding school after being expelled from his old one for setting the frogs in biology class free. Most of Malcolm’s new classes are the same as the ones that he had at his old school, but one class, ecology taught by Mr. Conrad Rusher, is quite unusual. Mr. Rusher prefers to be called Conrad and he doesn’t teach in the classroom. Conrad thinks of the outdoors as his classroom. While in the wilderness, Conrad makes up challenges for his students and whoever solves it first wins points. At first Malcolm thinks that this is a waste of time but then he learns that the students are competing for a chance to go on the field trip to the Condor Sanctuary and he quickly changes his mind. During the year, Malcolm and his friends discover that someone is harming the animals in the wilderness. First a dead bird is found, then a dead mountain lion, and finally they find several crushed condor egg shells. They tell several others, including wildlife officials, about their horrifying discovery, but no one seems to care. Malcolm and his friends have to do what they can, even if it means risking everything, to save the wilderness. But will they succeed? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

One thing that drew me to this book was the fact that it’s written as a journal. It gives you more insight on what the main character, Malcolm, is thinking and how they feel about different things. I also liked the Malcolm is a middle school student, so I could relate to him in some cases. Another good aspect of this book is that it keeps you hanging until the very last page. Some mysteries are simple to figure out far before the end, but this book takes several surprising turns along the way. In addition to the story, there are tips that Malcolm used for surviving in the wilderness, in the margins of the pages. All together I think that this is a great book. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a suspenseful mystery that keeps you longing for more.

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