Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Summary: Jada is moving back to New York City after several years spent in France. She’s dealing with the recent death of her mom in a plane crash, but she can’t accept that her mother is gone. In fact, she’s sure she has seen her on more than one occasion, although her father assures her that’s just part of her reaction to grief. New York seems full of strange characters, though, and Jada enlists the help of four new friends to try to figure out who they are and what is going on. By the end of the story, they’ve revealed everyone’s true identities and learned the truth about Jada’s mother. The epilogue sets up the next book in the series. 272 pages; grades 3-5.
Pros: Illustrated with Sherri Winston’s artwork, this story has plenty of plot twists and nefarious characters to keep kids turning the pages. Jada and her friends are a bit smarter and more worldly than the average fifth grader, but that’s all part of the fun, as they go undercover and discover truths that elude the adults around them.
Cons: Jada’s father’s new relationship with his assistant Cécile seems a bit odd when we learn (spoiler alert) that her mother is actually still alive.