Mandy Southgate, book reviewer at Addicted to Media
The Five Clues is cool in many ways. It has an Alex Rider approach to crime-fighting in that it is non-stop action. Like Anthony Horowitz’s teen crime-fighter, London-based Edie is working through her grief over the loss of her mother and couldn’t do it without the help of a very good friend.
Unlike Alex Rider, however, Edie has a tight-knit family – including a loving father and younger brother. It is this love that will determine whether or not Edie is successful in her quest. I love the music references that Edie and her parents shared and I know that this book will appeal to the teens of music-loving parents.
What I enjoyed most about the novel was Edie’s Judaism and the descriptions of Jewish grief rituals such as the stone-setting service. Being half-Jewish myself, I’m very familiar with Jewish funerals and graveside rituals and it felt great to see that represented in a YA novel.
What Kessel does best in The Five Clues is to write complex and detailed villains, especially in Zero, the trained assassin central to the story. It is rare to really get to the heart of a villain’s motives and raison d’etre, especially in a young YA novel such as this.