Middle Grade Fiction
A Side of Sabotage: A Quinnie Boyd Mystery (Quinnie Boyd Mysteries #3) by C.M. Surrisi
I had the opportunity to read a digital ARC of this middle grade mystery novel courtesy of NetGalley. A few years ago, I read the Maypop Mystery, and really enjoyed it. This is the third installment of the Quinnie Boyd mystery series, and it is fun to see the characters I like getting a little bit older. Fourteen year old Quinnie is enjoying the summer in Maiden Rock, Maine with her friends. Dominic is a little bit more than just a friend, but he's getting ready to move away. Quinnie's childhood BFF, Zoe, is returning to Maiden Rock after spending over a year in Scotland with her parents.
In the midst of adjusting to Zoe's return, preparing to say goodbye to her boyfriend, and helping out at her father's restaurant, there is something sinister happening in Maiden Rock. A fancy new restaurant has opened in town, and is threatening to take away Gusty's customers. When a friendly food competition between the two restaurants begins, suddenly all sorts of misfortune falls upon Gusty's. Each new problem threatens to ruin her father's business, and Quinnie is pretty sure the owner of the new restaurant is behind all of the trouble. But in order to find proof, Quinnie and her friends will need to dust off their detective caps.
I like that this mystery has enough adventure and tension to make it a compelling read. But like its predecessors, it's not too scary or violent for middle grade readers. I kind of wish Quinnie would trust her mother to help her more when she finds clues or discovers new evidence. Quinnie's mom is also Maiden Rock's sheriff. And while Quinnie wants to solve things on her own, she frequently compromises evidence or creates new problems that only complicate efforts to find the culprit in the restaurant mischief. That frustrates the grownup in me, but I'm sure this book will be a popular mystery among young readers.