Asbury High and the Thief’s Gamble by Kelly Brady Channick

Title: Asbury High and the Thief’s Gamble (Asbury High YA Cozy Mystery #1)

Author: Kelly Brady Channick

Published on: 3rd February 2020

Genre: YA Cozy Mystery

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Asbury High and the Thief’s Gamble is the first book in Asbury High YA Cozy Mystery series by Kelly Brady Channick.

Four teenagers at Asbury High decide to don their detective hats when a string of burglaries haunts East Asbury. Juggling between classes, sports and puppy love, the kids have their hands full. The thief is busy planning their next move and so are the kids.

I have mixed opinions about this book – I guess this is pretty evident from the 3-star rating. I will start with the most annoying part(s) and then come to the best part of the story.

The story seemed a little unrealistic. East Asbury is where the wealthy live while West Asbury is the place for the poor and needy. Maddie and Pilot are from West Asbury while Cornelious and Carly live in East Asbury. Carly’s sister Mia is an excellent driver – it is better to sit under the car while Mia’s driving. (Um, whatever that means…) The local hangout for teenagers is the Taco and Pancake ‘diner’. A beef taco wrapped in a pancake is their specialty.

Pilot is a hacker genius. He’s hacked into the local police mainframe and gets alerts on his cellphone. He even hacked the results of the British elections(before they were declared). This sounded a little outrageous. A teenager who hacks into anything and everything and yet nobody’s bothered to stop him. The entry to his room is nothing less of a fortress. Voice-activated system that opens the room door. Ahem. There’s a difference between make-believe stories and unrealistic, out-of-the-blue hard to believe stories.

Don’t get me started on Maddie and her five siblings, Carly and her gossips, Cornelious and his ‘loving’ family. The characters and their doings, and the exaggerated setting did not work for me.

The best part of this story is the mystery behind the burglaries. The kids almost come face-to-face with the thief and yet he manages to escape. Until the very end (like, last four pages or so), the identity of the thief remains hidden. I wish the author had focused more on the mystery angle than on the teenage school drama.

I also found a couple of mistakes – grammatical, wrong usage of tenses and so on. These are minor issues but when a reader finds it often, it becomes a little annoying. I do not think the teenager me would have enjoyed this story. Apart from the proms, drinks, kisses and crushes, the story is suited for kids of the age group 8-10.

This book had a lot of potential. A little less of the exaggerated setting would have worked wonders.

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