Nothing to Lose: A Robyn Hunter Mystery, by Norah McClintock
Another entry in the Robyn Hunter series, previously reviewed here and here.
When I read the first book I was totally excited - a teen mystery series that succeeded in actually including a mystery while also having teen appeal! Yay! Book two felt a little less good. Book three maintains the level of adequacy I felt in book two. Its a good little adventure, but nothing really earth shattering or fresh.
What I am really liking as the series is continuing is that we're seeing some character development from the supporting cast. There is a little bit of growth, some side stories, some hooks to keep you interested in their lives. And, best of all, they are moving from being the sort of wooden stereotypical sidekicks we often meet in stand alone mysteries into actual characters. I'm looking forward to seeing how they grow in future installments.
The other thing I really like about this series is that it deals with urban kids facing urban type issues. Most mysteries for teens and kids seem to focus on rural or even safe suburban topics. In this book, the main character finds herself involved with a human smuggling ring after her backpack is stolen when she's downtown in Chinatown.
While the series hasn't quite lived up to my originally exalted expectations, I think it is well written and will really be appealing to the target audience. After all - who doesn't like to read about a girl detective with a penchant for bad boys?