FICTION

Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco

Piñata Bks. May 2020. 248p. pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781558859029.
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Gr 9 Up–Holly Hernandez and Xander Herrera have quite a bit in common: both are intelligent students who are happy to begin a new school year attending the elite Flatbush Technical High School, where their reputations will not follow them and they can start fresh. But while Holly is eager to make friends with Xander, he cannot stand perky people like her. When one of their teachers is found murdered and Xander seems like the suspect, Holly and Xander begin their own separate but similar investigations, hoping to find out who the real culprit is. As another murder takes place and Holly and Xander gather more clues, they must also navigate the complexities of their family lives, friendships, and their own personal feelings. Short chapters alternate between the voices of Holly and Xander, helping to fill in blanks and following the young detectives as they go deeper into the mystery. Readers will find plenty of action and suspense, a complex mystery, as well as humor and a slew of interesting characters. The 1979 setting--with the absence of current technology such as cell phones and laptops--sets a refreshing stage where the characters use other methods to uncover information. Readers will appreciate the detailed world created, enriched by the addition of appendices following the story which give additional insight to some of the characters.
VERDICT A complex, exciting mystery that will leave readers hoping for a sequel.

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