- Age Range: 10 - 14 years
- Grade Level: 5 - 9
- Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
- Series: Big Splash
- Hardcover: 277 pages
- Publisher: Amulet Books; 1 edition (September 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0810970678
- ISBN-13: 978-0810970670
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,533,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Big Splash Hardcover – September 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6–8—Matt Stevens is a seventh-grade Sam Spade who attends a middle school with an organized crime ring run by Vinny Biggs and his goons. Biggs traffics in forgeries, stolen exams, and candy, and has his competition regularly put in the "Outs" with humiliating water-pistol stains to the pants. A kid in the Outs is outcast for life—so when Nikki Fingers, Biggs's most-feared former hit woman, is taken down by an unseen assailant, Matt is hired by both her sister, Jenny, and Biggs himself to find the culprit. The result is a punchy, clue- and twist-filled plot that falls somewhere between Bruce Hale's "Chet Gecko" (Harcourt) and Robert Cormier's The Chocolate War (Knopf, 1974). Ferraiolo cleverly adapts hard-boiled whodunit roles to a slightly cartoonish middle school arena (Joey "the Hyena" is framed for the crime; Katie Kondo is the vigilant hall monitor chief; Jimmy Mac heads the school paper; Sal Becker runs a root-beer version of a dive bar in his toolshed). Matt's strained relationship with Kevin, a former best friend who's now working for Biggs, brings depth to his character, as do his crushes on both Jenny and Kevin's sister. An intriguing personal mystery involving Matt's father, who disappeared years earlier, remains unsolved by the end of the book, and Matt's mother has secrets yet to tell. Well paced, funny, and suspenseful, with some real commentary on bullying and mob mentality, this book will have fans eagerly awaiting the next installment in this faux noir detective series.—Riva Pollard, Prospect Sierra Middle School, El Cerrito, CA
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