From School Library Journal
Grade 5–7—The annual spelling bee at Gordon Liddy Community School is a big deal. The local newspaper and television stations cover it and the whole town shows up. This year, the hoopla is even bigger than usual. There is a new, formerly homeschooled, student in sixth grade who some people fear may win. A student's father broke into the school and attempted to steal the master word list. Tensions are running high. Sixth-grader Chrissie works for the principal, gathering dirt on her classmates, but when information she gathers is used to prevent an innocent student from participating in the bee, she realizes that the administration may be corrupt and she uses her detective skills to get to the bottom of the big buzz. Framed as Chrissie's case notes, interview transcripts, and emails, this funny, light mystery covers the weeks leading up to the competition. The characters are set types—class clown, stressed-out brainiac, bad boy with a heart of gold—but they grow and change by the book's end as the kids try to do the right thing, avoid the adult corruption, and just enjoy the bee. This is a fun, silly read with a casual, conversational tone befitting all the different characters' voices. The hijinks may be wacky, but kids will want to keep reading to find out what happens at the climactic event.—Geri Diorio, The Ridgefield Library, CT
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