By R.A. Spratt
“When Friday Barnes solves a bank robbery, she uses the reward money to send herself to Highcrest Academy, the most exclusive boarding school in the country – and discovers it’s a hotbed of crime! Soon she’s investigating everything from disappearing homework to the terrifying Yeti haunting the school swamp. But the biggest mystery yet is Ian Wainscott, the handsomest (and most arrogant) boy in school who inexplicably hates her. Will the homework be found? Can they ever track down the Yeti? And why is Ian out to ruin her?” – First book official summary
My thoughts: This series was an immense amount of fun. I found myself cracking up on almost every page as Friday solved the most ridiculous crimes among the most ridiculous classmates. Friday is extremely smart and has zero social skills, so she’s often saying the most offensive things when just making observations. She’s like Nancy Drew, expect with zero people skills and a whole lot smarter. And also Australian.
The different dynamics between her and the people around her is so varied and interesting to read about. Some of her teachers hate because she’s smarter than them, some of her teachers really couldn’t care less, her classmates pay her inordinate amounts of money to solve their mysteries for them, and her best friend couldn’t stay awake without her (literally).
Sometimes when having a heroine who’s smarter than everyone else including the reader, they might come off as snobbish or annoyingly better than everybody. This was not the case with Friday. Friday is so extremely smart that it’s not even annoying anmore. Her impossible intelligence makes you want to cheer her on the whole time instead of toss her off a cliff like some characters do.
This series isn’t realistic at all, and none of the characters are very relatable, but I think that’s what makes it so charming and fun. It isn’t dark or deep, so it’s definitely a great series to read when you need a cheering-up.
Some of the situations these kids get into are just so ridiculous, you can’t help but laughing even in the moments where the characters are running for their lives.
There isn’t really an overarching plot line to these books like other series, so it makes for a really simple, easy read. Almost every chapter has a new mystery to solve, and each book ends with the one big mystery for that book. The books can pretty much be read out of order, as the recurring characters pretty much always stay the same and the the plotlines don’t really interconnect that much. Every book can pretty much stand on its own.
You actually will learn a lot about pretty much everything throughout the book, whether you want to or not. Friday is always pulling up bits of obscure knowledge that are sure to fascinate your friends, but might not be very useful in everyday life. 🙂
As for the age level, I’d say kids 11 to 15 would enjoy this. There are no bad words or anything, though in the last book there’s some very mild kissing. While the maturity of the content is very low, there are a lot of SAT-level words in here. Depending on your preference, it might be fun to expand your vocabulary, but will also slow down your reading speed if you have to stop and look up every word. This is one of the reasons I highly recommend getting a kindle, as you can just highlight a word and it’ll look up the definition for you.
In conclusion, you should definitely read this amazing series… over and over again. It’s crazy good, and I can guarantee you will love it!