Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane

Nobel, Julia. The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane (Black Hollow Lane #1)   March 5th 2019 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Emmeline (Emmy) has bounced around from private school to private school since her mother, a child psychology guru, has accepted different jobs. Now that her mother has a television show in development, her mother decides to ship her off to a boarding school in England! Emmy isn't given any choice, so she soon finds herself arriving mid term at Wellsworth, angering her new roommate and being forbidden from playing her beloved soccer. She also has to take Latin, and her house mother, Madame Boyd, arranges for her to join the Latin Society to get help. Emmy does at least make new friends in Lola, who is on the school football (soccer) team, and Jack, whose brother is a big wig in the Latin Society but who is not a member himself. Emmy starts to realize that her long dead father attended the school, and that the medallions she found hidden in her house might be related to the Latin Society... and that the society might not be a force for good. She lets several people know her suspicions, including school caretaker Jonas, and before long she and her friends are embroiled in a mystery that involves a lot of secret passages in old buildings as well as a growing sense of danger. Some mysteries are solved, but even more are uncovered and will be addressed in a yet-to-be titled sequel.
Strengths: I will personally read ANYTHING set in a British boarding school, like Kerr's The Girl with the Glass Bird and Stevens Murder is Bad Manners. This had a sort of a National Treasure feel to it, with an evil society and various clues to its existence. The inclusion of soccer is always great, and I was glad when Emmy finally got to play. Lola and Jack are great friends, and the adults are all supportive until the turn out to have ulterior motives. Very fun, and a quick read even though it was a little longer.
Weaknesses: Are the British really this mean to each other in boarding schools? Why!? Also, I'm not entirely sure that Latin is taught even in boarding schools in England anymore! But, if you have to have a secret society, I imagine that one relating to Latin is just as likely as anything else.
What I really think: I do have one student who wants to read what he calls "academy books", set in schools for witchcraft, spies, etc. I think he would like this, and it did have a good mystery. I would like to know how many books are in the series-- my readership could support three, but more than that would probably gather dust.

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