Author Pauline Hosking has successfully written a missing person detective story as would have been recorded by a budding teenage detective. Cinnamon Stevens is intent on becoming a super sleuth whilst acknowledging some minor character faults. She keeps detailed records and, with the assistance of friends, proceeds to work her way through the disappearance of a classmate from her very own tent on school camp.
The illustrations of Kat Chadwick are engaging and are placed sporadically throughout the story in places that bring extra emotional ties to the characters. Hosking has captured the uncertainty of a twelve-year-old girl as she wonders what year 7 in a Melbourne Secondary school will be like without her best friend, who has won a place in the city. She puts Cinnamon’s family and school cohorts in the forefront, describing the relationships in a way that will resonate with, not only Australian youngsters but any middle child.
This story starts on Phillip Island, having some interesting penguin facts thrown in for good measure, and concludes with a foot-chase through the lanes of the trendy parts of Melbourne after a daring escape and rescue involving four girls, a small group of kidnappers/ smugglers, and police.
The style of the book is instantly engaging, with clever font choices and friendly text formatted into easily-read chapters, detailing a day at a time. This story allows the reader to try to work the mystery out as the clues are exposed and will be a treasured item in a young person’s book shelf.
I would recommend this book for young people between the ages of 9 and 13. It is also written in a way that young people struggling with reading skills will be able to read with relative ease.
Reviewed by Leanne Caune
Rating out of 10: 8
Publisher: Lilly Pilly Publishing
Release Date: Out Now
RRP: $16.99 paperback