'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 12 August 2018

Review: The Peacock Detectives

Here is middle grade novel with an original, authentic voice that will resonate with kids. Cassie is a curious 11-year-old girl who notices things and writes them down. She is a writer. And a peacock detective.

When the peacocks go missing, she is the best person to find them because she notices the details that others miss. She’s writing a book. It’s about finding the peacocks. Or is it?

However, this book is about so much more than Cassie’s search for the peacocks. It is her search to understand her world, which is changing so quickly she is struggling to keep up.

Cassie’s fourteen-turning-fifteen year old sister stops going to church, starts being Buddhist, becomes vegetarian and decides to live in a tent in the backyard.

Her Dad is spending more and more time alone in his study. And having more of ‘Those Days’. Cassie sometimes has ‘Those Days’ too. Where everything seems boring and complicated. But Dad is getting worse and things are changing. It's time to turn her detective skills onto her own family.

Cassie’s life as she knows it begins to unravel. She has to deal with her sister meditating, her Dad’s strange behaviour, her grandfather getting sick and a school bully. And she’s sick of everyone telling her she’s too young to understand. Why won’t anyone tell her the truth? Then her best friend goes missing and she knows she’s the only one who can find him.

The first person, diary style narrative is personal and engaging. We see through Cassie’s eyes as she tries to interpret her changing world and prepare herself to face up to the truth. 

This is a story about growing up and learning to view the world through a different lens. It’s perfect for that pre-teen age group who are yearning to stop being treated as children but haven’t yet grasped the complexity of adult relationships. This book will challenge them to think about what people say and do and notice the little clues that can lead to understanding.

Despite the challenges Cassie faces, this is an uplifting book. It is about the realisation that the world is not perfect but you can’t have the good without the bad. And it’s also about the peacocks, and the determination of a committed Peacock Detective.

Title: The Peacock Detectives
Author: Carly Nugent
Publisher: Text publishing, $16.99
Publication Date: 28 May 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781925603705
For ages: 10 - 14
Type: Middle Grade