Tangled Up in Luck

S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry. Jan. 2022. 256p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534495791.
Gr 5-7–Familiar themes of adolescent angst, mean-girl shenanigans, budding friendship, and the loss of a parent thread through a complex mystery. Dramatic, flamboyant Amelia Miller-Poe feels like a misfit in her perfect family; volleyball star Sloane Osburn misses her deceased mother and feels uncomfortable in the sports crowd. Both are unlikely partners in a seventh grade assignment to discover the location of jewels missing for 130 years from an estate in their Ohio town. Their research leads them to an old mansion, now a bed-and-breakfast, and the discovery of clues about two feuding families whose descendants are seemingly long gone. Working together, at first reluctantly, the girls form a tentative bond that must withstand interference from a classmate looking to sabotage their fragile friendship and exploit their work in completing the assignment. Lurking behind it all is an unidentified, menacing character who ultimately confronts the girls just as they are about to find the jewels. An included cast of characters at the beginning of the book is necessary to keep straight the multigenerational players in the mystery, and the ending suggests the possibility of a sequel or series. Amelia and Sloane are both cued as white.
VERDICT An unlikely premise that nevertheless conveys a positive message about loyalty, belonging, and friendship.

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