Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels by Carrie Cross

JEWELS
Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels by Carrie Cross
Publisher: Teen Mystery Press
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (244 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A deserted mansion perches on a steep hillside, overlooking a rocky canyon. Tattered curtains hang behind broken windows, and a turret stretches toward the sky. Three years ago the wealthy owner disappeared suddenly, leaving behind a house full of secrets: A mysterious note, tantalizing clues, a hidden floor, one piece of a treasure map, and a missing fortune in diamonds.

Thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins moves into the mansion with her parents and embarks on a new and dangerous mission. Armed with her detective kit, and with the support of her BFF Alexa and a team of secret agents, Skylar sets out to decipher the clues and find the diamonds. Can she outwit a gang of aggressive bikers and find the hidden jewels before they do? Or will the perils of middle school–like battling ruthless bully Emelyn Peters for the attention of class hottie Dustin Coles–get in her way?

Old houses can carry a lot of secrets, but they’re not always keen on revealing them.

It was a lot of fun to observe Skylar’s relationship with her parents. This was the first time that she’s attempted to solve a mystery while living with them, so there were many opportunities for her sleuthing to be squeezed into otherwise ordinary days. The relationship between mother and daughter was particularly interesting because Skylar and her mom have completely opposite personalities and interests.The occasional disagreements that resulted from these differences were well written and believable.

The character development was also strong. Skylar has learned from her previous adventures and occasionally mentions those lessons as she attempts to solve this mystery. I liked seeing a slightly older and more mature version of this character and am looking forward comparing this version of her with who she will become in the future.

My only criticism of this tale is a minor one. Early on in the plot Skylar’s parents buy a house that’s three times the size of what they actually need. The characters discuss how unusual this decision is, but they never really give any concrete reasons for why a small, nuclear family would have any interest in such a huge home. I would have preferred to see at least one more conversation later in on the plot explaining this decision.

Attempting to solve the mystery before anyone in the plot figures it out is one of the things I look forward to the most with this series. The clues are revealed slowly and methodically. Some of them are easy to figure out, but others require more thought. I’ve really enjoyed puzzling out both of Skylar’s mysteries so far.

This is the sequel to Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hill, but it can be read as a standalone novel. The most important background and character information from that story is briefly recapped in this one.

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels has made me eager to read more about Skylar’s adventures. I’d heartily recommend this tale to anyone who is a fan of mysteries or the young adult genre.

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