Published by Triangle Square
Summary: Atticus “Atty” Peale knows what it’s like to be different. Her white father and black stepmother and brother make the family stand out in their small Alabama town. She’s learned to speak up for herself, and being the daughter of a public defender makes her want to speak up for others. When she and her younger brother Martinez get to know Easy, a shelter dog accused of biting a man, Atty becomes the dog’s advocate, going to court to try to save him from being put down. Meanwhile, her father is spending long hours at the jail, working to save his own client, a neighbor and friend accused of murder. Could the two cases be connected? Atty, Martinez, and an interesting new seventh grade friend named Reagan need to keep their wits about them to solve the mysteries. 240 pages; grades 4-7.
Pros: A fun girl detective with a mind and voice of her own make this debut novel a good choice for mystery fans. There’s lots more there than just cracking the case: the perils of seventh grade, many well-developed quirky characters, and the impoverished but close-knit Alabama small town setting.
Cons: The plot seemed to meander quite a bit, and a subplot about an alligator didn’t seem essential to the rest of the story.