BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: The Misfits Club
Author: Kieran Crowley (illustrated by Vince Reid)
Publication Date: 2017
Most Suitable For: Years 4-6
When I heard that this book described as being like “The Famous Five meet The Goonies” I was intrigued to dive in and now, having read it, I can understand exactly why such comparisons have been made. With plenty of humour, some great action-packed crime chase scenes and a good old adventure driven by a group of friends who long for the world to take their discoveries seriously, this was an enjoyable read that will appeal to readers in Key Stage 2.
When new girl Amelia joins a group of friends who call themselves the 'Misfits Club' during the summer holidays, the club's future does not look great. It seems to Amelia more like a selection of kids that don’t fit in at school rather than a real detective club. What's more, the group has never managed to solve any proper mysteries and is on the verge of disbanding as twins Sam and Chris will soon be moving away.
Nonetheless, Amelia passes the club’s initiation test and very quickly the group finds itself wrapped up in an exciting real-life mystery involving derelict houses, criminal gangs and undercover villains. The children desperately endeavour to get to the bottom of what’s going on before it’s too late, as the criminals become increasingly aware of Misfits Club’s activities and the other grown-ups are not at all interested in taking the children seriously about what they have uncovered. The narrative is well-paced and is interlaced with newspaper clippings, diary extracts, police reports and other sources that add a fun ‘casebook’ feel to the growing bank of evidence the children uncover.
Lashings of ginger beer may have been replaced by smart phones, but the premise of children relying on their own resourcefulness to solve mysteries and put right criminal wrongdoings holds a timeless appeal in children’s literature. What I liked especially about this narrative was the impending sense that this was ‘one last adventure’ for the club before they move on to other things. Along with various hints throughout the story about dawning adolescence, the characters all seem in their own ways to be sitting on a threshold between clinging onto childhood status and wishing to be taken seriously like adults. Many readers in upper Key Stage 2 will find the frustrations of the “tween” stage to be entirely relatable. I think that Kieran Crowley has perfectly captured the notion of the characters feeling torn between hoping for ‘one last adventure’ in childhood and also being ready to move on to a more mature phase.
We are delighted that author Kieran Crowley and publisher Macmillan have kindly provided three copies of this book to give away to our readers. For a chance to win a copy, simply follow us on Twitter and retweet the pinned giveaway post by midnight Monday 28th May (full T&Cs here).