Shadows On The Lane by Virginia Rose Richter

Shadows On The Lane by Virginia Rose Richter
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Length: Short Story (55 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

A spirited, adventurous twelve-year-old, Jessie Hanson, witnesses a hit-and-run accident in which a young girl is injured. With the help of her best friend, Tina Adams, she uses her detecting skills to cut through the victim’s amnesia and track down the driver of the deadly automobile.

Jessie and Tina are almost thirteen and excited to be treated as the mature nearly ladies they are – allowed to attend the posh afternoon tea opening of a new museum in their home, Willow Lane. Mid-way through, Jessie goes out onto the balcony to get some air. She witnesses an accident involving her crush, Bryce’s little sister. It was all over in an instant – and the hit and run driver escaped. Once again Jessie is drawn into some detective work – to help find the person who hit little Sunny and left her without a care.

This is a fun and interesting book I feel is suitable for young teenagers and mystery-inclined youthful readers. I really enjoyed the main cast of characters, all of whom I found well rounded and realistic. Jessie in particular is a vibrant and interesting heroine, strong and intelligent but still young enough to be swayed by her crush and impulsive in her actions. There’s no swearing or any behavior I felt to be inappropriate within this book. I felt it a clean, fresh mystery with a dash of teenage hormones and girlish fun. While the plot isn’t some throw-away side thought (Tina and Jessie playing detective and trying to solve the crime and discover the perpetrator) it’s written in a light-hearted, good spirited, fun manner that will appeal to pre-teens and shouldn’t appear dumbed-down or too childish.

I would have loved reading this book in my pre-teen years (I was – and still am – a massive Nancy Drew fan) and feel both boys and girls of a similar age and interests will greatly enjoy this story. While the plot is resolved – it’s clear there are many more tales from this small town. I’ll certainly be keeping my eyes open for more!

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