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The Mysterious Package (A Hannah and Tamar Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition
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I liked both Hannah and Tamar. Each had their own personalities that were likeable and relatable.
I would have liked to have seen more mystery solving and fewer scenes with them helping their grandparents. However the author created a great relationship between both the girls and the girls and their grandparents. I would recommend the series two young girls who enjoy a mystery.
You can see my full review at More Than a Review dot com where I rate the level of sex, violence, language and drug/alcohol use in books.
HALL WAYS REVIEW: When two of my favorite cozy mystery authors told me about their collaboration to create a new YA series, the Hannah and Tamar mysteries, I was super excited and ready to review! I have read Cassidy Salem’s two books in her Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth series, and two of Christa Nardi’s Cold Creek series, and I enjoy each author’s unique style and characters. As Cassidy explained to me about the new young adult series featuring two teen sisters, I realized (and got confirmation) that the two authors are also sisters. The C-Sisters! That made reading the books even more appealing – how cool to write a series with a sibling! (You can read my interview with the authors and my reviews of their books on my blog. kristinehallways.blogspot.com)
I was a faithful Nancy Drew reader growing up and as an adult, I have even read some of the new iterations of that series. I was expecting something along those lines in Hannah and Tamar, the main characters of the C-Sisters’ series. Though that influence is there (the C-Sisters are also Nancy Drew fans), the Hannah and Tamar books have their own vibe. The girls aren’t really as much sleuths as problem-solvers, and I like that each girl not only uses her own strengths to figure out dilemmas and get answers, but each also knows when to get help. The books are a quick read at around one hundred pages and so far, they are stand alone. Apart from the girls and their parents, there aren’t even any repeat characters from book one to book two. My hope is some of these same characters show up again in the next book, The Missing Dog (coming August 2017).
The C-Sisters do a great job at sliding in some subtle life-lessons, and as an adult reader, I appreciate that adults are not only present and important to the teenagers, but they are respected by the teenagers, and adult opinions are valued, even if disregarded. Hannah and Tamar and their immediate circle of friends (and romantic interests) are teenagers who model some great behaviors without being cheesy about it. Fear-not! They also have some fairly typical teenage concerns and fascinations.
THE MYSTERIOUS PACKAGE is book one of the series, and readers are put into a crisp fall setting with Hannah and Tamar (high school senior and junior, respectively) riding a train to visit their grandparents over Thanksgiving break. Right away, I loved where things were going. As a Texas girl, for me a train ride in itself is a mysterious and interesting thing, and add in the allure of traveling sans parents – score! Quickly, there is some conflict, and I like how the girls’ response is a thoughtful and natural one. There is a nice balance between the serious (homework, college, career) and the fun of being a teen girl (clothes, boys, dreaming). There were a few things bothered me about this book including giving expired food to the homeless, a few helpless female overtures, and some inaccuracies about college residency requirements -- and the big mystery, when finally unraveled, was a little anti-climactic (but also very unique). Overall, I think it has good bones and enough going on that readers will stay engaged and satisfied without being bombarded by the ubiquitous underage drinking, sex, drugs, and violence found in many YA books.
Both books one and two in the series need more thorough copy editing to correct errors in capitalization, punctuation, and usage, but that’s the beauty (some would say curse) of eBooks – they can continually be revised. As a Grammar Policewoman, I have only the utmost respect for authors who not only have great stories but who are brave enough to write them down and share them with the world. My goal in critiquing is always to help, not harm.
Thank you to the C-Sisters for sharing their books with me in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. Full review + more features on Hall Ways Blog kristinehallways.blogspot.com
Christa and Cassidy do an outstanding job of accurately portraying the sibling dynamic. Edgy but not bickering. Supportive but with enough nudges and eye rolling to keep you from reaching for the Pepto:
Hannah: “Now I remember why it’s no fun shopping with you. You take forever to decide.”
Tamar: “And you grab the first thing you see.”
Speaking of eye rolling, there were two scenes where I thought that more eye rolling was actually called for. Both involved sexist comments made cluelessly by Gramps. When the girls meet the mystery package holder and Gramps shows up late, he comments: “I planned to be here, but got delayed. Grands told me you girls came on your own. I guess it’s a good thing you boys were here, just in case.” Really? Every teen in that scene should have been rolling their eyes at that comment. Later on, Gramps comments on the aunt who’s missing the holiday dinner: “I think she works so hard because she’s alone. She needs to get out and find someone new.” Both of these comments made sense for the character. Older men do often believe the outdated stereotypes that girls need boys to protect them, or that a working woman really needs a man. But in contemporary teen lit, those assumptions really need to be challenged by at least a three-character eye roll!
Other than those two off-hand comments by Gramps, this book does a great job of presenting young women as thoughtful and capable. In fact, Gramps even redeems himself toward the end having this insightful conversation with the girls’ dad about Hannah’s interest in solving crimes:
Gramps: “Hannah has natural curiosity and likes to solve puzzles. Criminology might be a good fit for her.”
Dad: “She needs to do something safe.”
Gramps: “No, she needs to do what will make her happy, and be safe doing it. There’s a difference, you know.”
GO GRAMPS! I think this series has great potential. Interesting but age appropriate. Clean but not preachy. Maybe Nancy Drew should start looking over her shoulder?
- Read via Kindle Unlimited