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Mystery at the Raleigh Tavern
Jami Borek, author

Children/Young Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Create)

Amanda, Amelia, and their friend Jacob must solve a mystery – who stole Thomas Jefferson’s violin from the Raleigh Tavern? The Sheriff thinks he’s already found the thief, but he couldn’t be more wrong. He’s decided that the thief must be Jacob.

They have to find the violin to clear Jacob’s name, but there’s more at stake even than Jacob’s freedom. Jefferson left some dangerously political notes in the violin case. It is 1774, and the rights of colonists and “tyranny” of King George are very much on his mind. If the wrong person read the notes, they might even accuse him of treason. 

As the children search for the thief and violin case, other fateful events are taking place at the tavern. In the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, Jefferson and others are meeting there, resolving to boycott tea and hold a Continental Congress - steps that will lead to Independence and change Amanda and Amelia’s world forever more.

Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 8.00 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: This charming novel is soundly structured. The author maintains a sense of urgency throughout and drops just enough clues to keep readers turning pages.

Prose: The story is simply told and moves along at a good clip. This book is ideal fare for middle-grade readers.

Originality: The historical setting adds to the originality of the work while affording some painless educational insights into the past.

Character Development: The characters here could use additional development. The girls have distinctive interests, but similar personalities. Fleshing out the players to make them more unique would improve this already solid work.

Date Submitted: June 21, 2018

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