‘Lori and Max,’ by Catherine O’Flynn, cover by Jennifer Hall.

Having recently heard a lot of good things about ‘Lori and Max,’ I decided to make it my next read. I am pleased to report back that I wasn’t disappointed.

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Lori Mason wants to be a detective, but she keeps this very quiet at school because it’s not a good idea to be different. She’d never live it down if her classmates knew she kept notes about them in a special notebook she carries everywhere. Never mind the fact that the most recent case she’s solved involved finding her Nan’s missing glasses.

When new girl, Max, arrives at school Lori suddenly isn’t the only one who doesn’t fit in.  Max doesn’t talk much, has twigs in her hair and never actually seems to do any work.

When Both Max and the class’s charity collection go missing at the same time, Lori is the only person who doesn’t believe that it can be Max who’s stolen it. But everyone thinks Max has taken the money and run away, even the police, but Lori thinks differently and she’s about to try and solve her first real case.

This isn’t your average kid detective story. The addition of a father with a gambling addiction, a depressed mother and a neglected daughter add a layer of edge and grit which I wasn’t expecting. That doesn’t mean that ‘Lori and Max’ is a dark and miserable read. Far from it. It’s full of wit, hope, friendship and all the clever clues and twists you’d expect from a story with ‘detecting’ at its core.

It also cleverly captured the prejudice faced by pupils who move from school to school and don’t quite fit the norm. The class’s treatment of Max and the easy manner in which the finger of blame was pointed at her speaks volumes about the preconceptions people carry.  Max’s reactions to them was fantastic!

An unexpected and brilliant read from award-winning author for children aged 9+

Library Girl.

*Thank you to Firefly Press for sending me this title to review*

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