Wild Boy and the Black Terror

336p. Candlewick. May 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763662530. LC 2014945722.
Gr 5 Up—This sequel to Wild Boy (Candlewick, 2013) works better than the first book. The two young teens are now free of their stints in the circus where Clarissa performed as an acrobat and Wild Boy was part of the freak show attractions because of his hypertrichosis, an unusual genetic disorder that causes hair growth over his entire body. But life in London is not as easy as they had hoped. Clarissa and Wild Boy are soon embroiled in a dastardly plot by an unknown poisoner who intends to use a rare black diamond with a gruesome history to bring madness and terror to the population, including Queen Victoria herself. Jones interweaves interesting historical facts into this adventure tale, such as background on the 19th-century British exploitation of India, the role of the medical profession in postmortem procedures, and various schemes against the real Queen Victoria. One slightly jarring note is the use of modern colloquialisms, such as "trying to act cool" and "messed me up," but in light of the overall presentation, these can be forgiven.
VERDICT This historical adventure is a fast-paced and exciting read.

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