THE AMELIA SIX, by Kristin L. Gray , Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, June 30, 2020, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
A group of girls unravel a mystery tied to a famous pilot in Kristin L. Gray’s new middle-grade novel, The Amelia Six.
Eleven-year-old Amelia Ashford—Millie to her friends (if she had any, that is)—doesn’t realize just how much adventure awaits her when she’s given the opportunity of a lifetime: to spend the night in Amelia Earhart’s childhood home with five other girls. Make that five strangers. But Millie’s mom is a pilot like the famous Amelia, and Millie would love to have something to write to her about…if only she had her address.
Once at Amelia’s house in Atchison, Kansas, Millie stumbles upon a display of Amelia’s famous flight goggles. She can’t believe her good luck, since they’re about to be relocated to a fancy museum in Washington, DC. But her luck changes quickly when the goggles disappear, and Millie was the last to see them. Soon, fingers are pointing in all directions, and someone falls strangely ill. Suddenly, a fun night of scavenger hunts and sweets takes a nosedive and the girls aren’t sure who to trust.
With a blizzard raging outside and a house full of suspects, the girls have no choice but to band together. It’s up to the Amelia Six to find the culprit and return the goggles to their rightful place. Or the next body to collapse could be one of theirs. —Synopsis provided by Simon & Schuster/ Paula Wiseman Books
There’s just something about a great opening line that really draws readers in. Especially when it, at first glance, doesn’t have anything to do with the book you’re about to read: “Imagine the worst smell you can think of, multiply it by rotten fish, and I promise you a turkey truck stinks worse.”
How could you not want to read more?
While you find out pretty quickly what this sentence has to do with The Amelia Six, it’s not just a great opening line. It also gives you a glimpse at the descriptive and intriguing writing you’re about to experience. The whole book is like that.
Millie is a shy girl with an affinity for solving Rubik’s Cube. She’s bright but doesn’t want to assert herself. She has a quick mind, and when given the chance, she shines. The quirks of her character are perfectly matched by the other girls, who each have something of their own to prove.
The Amelia Six is a caper that feels very cinematic. I could see the whole thing play out on a small or large screen or even on stage. Gray’s writing has a warmth and familiarity to it that immediately draws you in and almost pushes you into the action.
The Amelia Six is just the sort of book I would have loved as a child, and I know it would have inspired me to learn more about Earhart. This is one I’ll definitely be saving for my own daughter to read when she’s old enough.
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