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on October 19, 2012
This cute, quick reading book stars "opposites attract" 7th grade best friends Darcy and Norah. They live in a small town in Massachusetts and when they create a pretend detective agency for a class project, the fake website gets a hit from a real customer! Darcy and Norah take on the case: find a missing twin. There is a great deal of fairly sophisticated humor in the book, with snappy retorts and funny asides. Both girls are types - Norah is the smart, rule-minding "nice one" and Darcy is the smart, computer-savvy rebel. Surprisingly, the one I had pegged as the "mean girl" type (Fiona) had more depth than I expected. I enjoyed this book and would easily recommend the series to `tween readers. The girls are solid at the core, despite their occasional bending of the rules, and the plot is exciting without being disturbing. The perfect audience are all the 4th or 5th grade girls who like mysteries. There are three books (so far) in the Sleuth or Dare series, this is the first one.
About me: I'm a middle school/high school librarian
How I got this book: Purchased all three in the series, for our library.
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on July 29, 2012
I'm reviewing these three books together because they go together. Each book is a continuation of the previous ones, which I like. It makes it seem more realistic. Norah and Darcy are best friends. Despite some differences they complement each other nicely. Norah loves astronomy and shrugs off the title of 'nerd' believing that intelligence is something worth sharing. Darcy loves black and purple and crime shows, she also has great skills on the computer that she sometimes misuses.

In the first book, Partners in Crime, Norah and Darcy form a pretend business for a class assignment. They are surprised when an anonymous someone seeks their detective help in finding a missing person. They decide to help but first they need to find out the identity of the person seeking their aide. Using Darcy's computer skills and Norah's inescapable logic, can they find the mysterious requester or the missing person?

In the second book, Norah and Darcy's friendship is tested when Norah starts spending time with Fiona, the most popular girl in school, and Maya, the quietest girl in school. But the friendship issues take a back seat when Maya comes to them with a problem, mysterious noises are coming out of a baby monitor while she's babysitting. Can they catch the culprit(s) and maintain their friendship?

In the third book, Norah and Darcy's friendship seems to be over, but is it? And what about Zane, Norah's crush, did he really burn down the field house or has he been framed as he claims? Can Darcy and Norah stop fighting long enough to find out?

This is a delightful new mystery series of special appeal to girls. Not only is the writing good but the stories are interesting and believable. They also involve the technological side of things involving computer hacking, smart phones, and baby monitors. Okay, so baby monitors aren't really high tech, but once you've read book two you might think otherwise. This is a great series to recommend to readers who've moved past Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys or who want a more modern type of mystery. I think this series will really speak to young readers, and I really enjoyed it myself
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on January 15, 2014
What began as a seventh-grade school presentation by polar-opposite best friends Darcy Carter and Norah Burridge soon turns into a real-life situation. The girls designed a website advertising detective services under the name Partners in Crime, and shortly afterward, someone emails them and asks for help finding their twin sister. The new detective duo decides to take on the case, their first, and what follows is a grade-A adventure. Throw in some threats and suspense and a surprising ally, and this story becomes an exciting journey full of technological thrills and perhaps a hint of puppy love.

With the Sleuth or Dare books, Kim Harrington creates a new girls detective series for modern readers. “Partners in Crime” is similar to a twenty-first-century Nancy Drew and is very relatable for middle-grade readers, particularly girls. This book is narrated in the first person by Norah, which enhances the relevance for readers. Given that Norah and Darcy are so different and yet best friends who stick together and help others their own age, there is also a strong message of loyalty and friendship. These two main characters complement each other very well, and they take a stand against bullying while dealing with typical situations, both in school and at home, that face contemporary middle-school students. Norah and Darcy prove that being intelligent and unique and not necessarily belonging to the popular, “in” crowd is ok and has rewarding benefits. The use of technology such as cell phones and the Internet, coupled with teenage lingo, ensures that the plot will be applicable to young readers. Also, several of the chapters have mildly frightening cliff-hanger endings, and the end of the story leads into book two, “Sleepover Stakeout.”
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on June 2, 2012
This was a GREAT mystery, and I can't wait to read the next one in the series! The book is well-written (it always amazes me how many great writers still pop up from the up-coming generation!) and kept me reading it to find out the outcome.

The ending surprised me--I was determined NOT to look ahead and find it out ahead of time!--and left me feeling a tiny bit shorted. Also a few small mysteries were not resolved but probably will be in the next book. But, this is a wonderful and unusual book that will be great for our library!! You will definitely enjoy it!
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on October 21, 2013
This book is really well crafted with a great story that's broken down into easy to follow sections. It has memorable characters and an actual real mystery to solve in the book. My 8 year old was captivated by it and will be looking to buy more before she gets old enough that she isn't interested any more.
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on February 20, 2014
My 9 year old daughter read this book and loved it. It's often hard her to find a book that holds her attention very long, but she read this and really liked it. She also ended up reading the other two books in this series.
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VINE VOICEon July 2, 2012
Norah and Darcy have to create a fake business for a school project. Darcy is obsessed with detective mysteries so she decides they should make their own detective agency. Norah goes along, because it's the best idea they've had. Darcy is a computer whiz, so they decide to make their presentation the best and have a website for they're company. Then they get an e-mail. Someone has found their website and wants them to help locate their twin. The girls aren't sure what to do, but decide to at least find out more information. Just because their 7th graders doesn't mean they can't help.

This was a really fun little mystery. I really like Norah and Darcy. It was a fun age that Kim Harrington put them at. A little bit about crushes, but still young enough to have some good clean fun. Both girls were very passionate about their hobbies too which made this book awesome. I can't wait to see Norah's love for astronomy come in to play more. The mystery was a little bit obvious for me to figure out, but it might be a bit trickier for younger kids (not adults like me). The length and adventure in this novel makes me quick to recommend to reluctant readers; it should keep them interested throughout it's brief story. If you like fun characters and a quick mystery read, make sure you check out this first Sleuth or Dare book.

First Line:
"The killer held his breath and huddled in the back of the darkened closet, hoping not to be found."

Favorite Lines:
"You know you're going to pee on the hydrant. I know you're going to pee on the hydrant. You pee on that thing every day. Stop acting like you're trying to make a decision."
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VINE VOICEon May 8, 2012
Sleuth or Dare is the first novel of a new middle grader mystery series featuring two young girl protagonists. Norah and Darcy are two best friends, but they couldn't be more different. Norah tells the story in this first book, and she's bookish and into all things astronomy. Darcy is deliberately different, a free spirit in clothing and attitude, and a dedicated armchair detective and cyber nerd.

They set up a detective agency as a school project, one of those make-believe businesses that get assigned in different classes to make kids think. Norah wants something different, but not wildly so. However, before she knows it, she gets sucked into Darcy's fantasy world and they establish a detective agency (Partners in Crime), complete with an on-line web presence.

Shortly after their debut during class, they get their first email. A mysterious person wants the duo to find her missing twin sister.

As an adult reader, I love traipsing through kids' books. Given the fact that sales of kids' books are way up these days (showing more of an increase than adult books), I feel confident in the knowledge that I'm not the only dedicated reader who pines for the good old days of curling up with a crackerjack story peopled with fun characters.

Kim Harrington's first person narrative throughout the book is fun and breezy, never taking itself too seriously. There is plenty of crushing, nervousness, and near-social disasters to keep the younger crowd happy, but it doesn't get in the way of older readers either.

The mystery is plenty of fun, and Harrington keeps the reader on his toes because there are a lot of things going on in this book to keep the pot stirred. There are plenty of characters on stage in this one that I feel certain will be back again and again throughout the series. Looking to see more of them, and I'm curious about what Zane is really doing. That's one mystery that didn't get resolved in this book.

However, I was surprised at how adult the actual mystery turned out to be. I put it all together well before the final reveal, but I thought it was an ambitious plot with fairly placed clues.

As someone who grew up on Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boy, I'm always going to read mysteries about young sleuths. Norah and Darcy are an enchanting pair and I'm already looking forward to the next two volumes, both of which will be released in subsequent months over the summer.

This is definitely a book for that young detective in your household, and a great book to purchase for a school library.
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on September 17, 2012
I liked the Sleuth or Dare series because they were good mystery books. Sleuth or Dare is about two 7th grade girls that made a mystery solving business as a small business for a school project. After the day that they presented it they got a real case. I think other kids would enjoy it because it is a fun mystery series that are solved by young teens that are good detectives.

My favorite parts were at the end of both books when the mysteries were solved and, the truth was told, and the clarets were caught. This book is special because it is a good mystery book series that shows how a young teen could become and dream what they want to be and they can dream big.

Kids in grades 2-9 and boys and girls would both like this book series. Anyone who likes mysteries would like this great series of books.

Review by Mensan Sophie T., age 9
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on April 2, 2014
Darcy and Norah have a school assignment and they have to come up with a business. They decide to come up with a defective agency, it was all in good fun. That is until they get an actual case for them to solve. As they get close to solving the case, it take a turn they don't expect it too, and are not prepared for the consequences. That's all I want to say about the plot, anything more would be spoilers.

Over all, the story was good, and it held my attention with a few plot twists. However, the author did one thing that grates on my nerves, and is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to books. She used parentheses when she wrote, and that just irks me to no end. Any information in the parentheses doesn't add to the story, it's just useless information. I just can't stand it when authors do that.

This is a good read, and I plan to tell my students about it. I'm sure it will hold their attention.
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