Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Van Gogh Deception

30971738Hicks, Deron. The Van Gogh Deception
August 29th 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

A boy is found in the National Gallery, staring into space. He can't tell the police his name, although there is a tag on his shirt that says "Arthur". The diagnosis-- traumatic amnesia. He is placed with an emergency foster mother, Mary Sullivan, who has a daughter Art's age, Camille. The two get along well, and during an outing to the museums, Art starts to pick up on some clues about who he is. Unfortunately, these get him followed and result in some high speed chases, fire alarms being pulled, and violence to Christmas trees. Art and Camille end up at one of the places from Art's past, and he starts to remember why he was traumatized. There's a much bigger issue at stake dealing with some Van Gogh paintings. Can the two children stay safe and shed some light on international art forgery?
Strengths: I really liked Mary and Camille, and thought that most of the police were very sympathetic and helpful while observing protocol. When one neglected protocol, it wasn't a good idea! The descriptions of D.C. and the museums were very interesting, especially since I was just there. Art's amnesia made sense, and the mystery worked out well. Lots of details about art.
Weaknesses: There's pretty much zero interest in art related mysteries in my library. Blue Balliet? Gathering dust. Malone's The Sixty-Eight Rooms? Not going out, even though I love it. The one exception is Ponti's Framed, but that had a lot more action, adventure and humor. Plus, it was shorter.
What I really thought: If Under the Egg  or the above mentioned titles are hot commodities in your library, definitely take a look at this one. There's not a lot of art in my school, and I have little interest in it, so I will pass, since I don't see it circulating well on its own.

The QR codes apparently show the art in question, but I couldn't get any devices in the house to read the codes. The school iPad is from 2012, my lap top is from 2010, and I have a dumb phone, so they were lost on me.
Ms. Yingling


  1. This sounds like a neat book. I like a good mystery. :) Great review!

  2. Book Reader8:13 PM EST

    I just read this book at school. It was really good! Sad thing I don't have a device to scan the QR codes...