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.
The Dark Stairs by Betsy Byars
The Herculeah Jones Series
ISBN-10: 0-14-240592-2 (0142405922)
ISBN-13: 978-0-14-240592-5 (9780142405925)
Publication Date: February 2006
List Price: $5.99
Review written by Breanna, Age 13, Grade 7. Date of review: May 2009.
Review: The book I choose to review was The Dark Stairs written by Betsy Byars. The book is the first book in the Herculeah Jones series, introducing the main characters, the feel of the story, and Byars chosen writing style for this series. This book is patterned the same as the rest of the series, so if you like this book you will probably like the others, however if you don’t like this book, the rest of the series won’t interest you either.
Herculeah Jones is not your average girl, she’s strong, tall, flexible, and very athletic. She has inkling for danger, a strong mind, and an insatiable curiosity. Her mother is a private investigator, her father a policeman. When she spots her father over at “Dead Oaks”, a place of local legend, and the scene of an unsolved murder mystery, and later sees her mother with a very mysterious man who seems overly concerned with this place, Herculeah’s inner detective is awakened and the adventure begins. The plot is very slow in the beginning and it’s hard to stay interested, but as the mystery progresses it’s hard to put the book down, however, this not until more than halfway through the book. Herculeah was a somewhat boring character and hard to connect with. Meat (Herculeah’s friend and “sidekick”) is a bit more of a complex and entertaining character. The setting is wonderful. In the small average town, the mystery house where a man disappeared and a man was said to have been murdered. The voice is engaging and interesting.
Overall the mystery of The Dark Stairs earned a total of 2½ stars from this reviewer.
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First Clue Mysteries is pleased to provide information on over 100 mystery series for children and young adults. Each series is conveniently listed under three different age categories (New Sleuth, ages 4 to 7; Future Sleuth, aged 7 to 10; and Sleuth in Training, ages 10 and older). If you have a favorite mystery series you'd like to see added to our site, please contact us.
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