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Book by Allison John
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PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (STARRED) - Allison is a triple threat: he plots deftly, draws confidently, and writes dead-on adolescent dialogue. Set in a grammar school in a British working-class community, this first book in his Bad Machinery series--originally published as a webcomic--has three earnest boys wing against three sharp-tongued girls to solve mysteries. The framing story concerns a Russian owner of a U.K. football (soccer) team trying to bully an elderly homeowner to sell her house; as the title hints, supernatural elements surface, too. There's plenty of cynical commentary about British consumer culture, and the students' sardonic banter provides a constant obbligato. About her mother's boyfriend's Velvet Underground albums, Shauna yawns, "It's nice that you gave some money to people just playing music for the first time." Allison's adults are sympathetically drawn, too--even the archvillain has a human side. A wry glossary "defines" British terms ("Nuffink: The way you say 'nothing' if you were dragged up rather than brought up"), but can't begin to illuminate the arcane mysteries of the British football-industrial complex; readers are on their own there. Dark, fast-paced, and riotously funny entertainment. Ages 10-up. (Mar.)
'This small-press charmer, based on an ongoing webcomic, is a stylish jumble of pop-culture references, sly humor, eye-catching characters, mystery-and, oddly enough, aliens.' - Kirkus
Shauna. Charlotte. Mildred. Three schoolgirl sleuths. Jack. Linton. Sonny. Three schoolboy investigators. Tackleford. One mid-sized city with a history of countless mysteries. Is there enough room at Griswalds Grammar School for two groups of kid detectives? There better be, because once these kids have set their sights on solving a mystery there's nothing that can derail them. Nothing, except maybe gossip, classwork, new football player cards, torment from siblings, or any number of childhood distractions.
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