Reviews for Down The Rabbit Hole : An Echo Falls Mystery


Booklist Reviews 2005 May #1
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 7-10. Thriller writer Abrahams crosses into youth territory in this rich, smoothly written mystery with a protagonist whose character is as substantial as her name and whose home and school experiences have the feel of real, sometimes messy middle-class life. When Ingrid Levin-Hill, 13, decides to run to soccer practice rather than wait for her ride, she gets lost in a not-so-nice part of town. Luckily, Cracked-Up Katie, one of Echo Falls' oddballs, calls her a cab. Convinced that full disclosure will only cause a lecture, Ingrid keeps her secret. Imagine her shock when she learns that Katie has been murdered--and Ingrid's cleats are at the crime scene. It isn't long before Ingrid starts feeling like Alice in Wonderland plunging down the rabbit hole. Homey details add enormously to the texture of the backdrop, and characters, including adults, are fully realized: Ingrid's not above a snotty comeback when she is feeling ornery or sees through adult pretense; curmudgeonly Grampy puts VO in his tea and defies convention by teaching Ingrid target shooting; and there's more to Joey Strade than his clumsy crush on Ingrid. Abrahams is concerned with adult motivations here, and his irony occasionally seems too arch for kids. But there's also plenty of excitement and just-right humor (Mom's constant concern about Ingrid's retainer is classic) as Ingrid's Alice-like curiosity pilots her, in bumbling stops and starts, right into the arms of a killer. Great start for the Echo Falls series. ((Reviewed May 1, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2005 Fall
Like her favorite detective Sherlock Holmes, thirteen-year-old Ingrid is keenly observant and stubbornly persistent. But when she learns she may have spotted a murderer, Ingrid feels as topsy-turvy as Alice in Wonderland (whom she happens to be portraying in a local theater production). Ingrid is a well-drawn character, and the Holmes and Alice comparisons are never overdone in this breezy mystery. Copyright 2005 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2005 April #1
Impatient with mother for being late for her ride to soccer, Ingrid Levin-Hill, eighth-grade Sherlock Holmes fan and amateur actress, makes an impulsive decision to walk, inadvertently becoming a witness in the murder case of Cracked-up Katie, the weird lady in the rundown house on the wrong side of town. Ingrid is afraid to come forward with her first-hand knowledge, fearing her parents' reprimand for leaving the neighborhood. Landing the lead role as Alice in the town's playhouse production of "Alice in Wonderland," she becomes more curious about the playhouse's past performers and a possible connection to Katie's youth. As the police investigation gets further away from the truth and the wrong suspects are arrested, Ingrid takes increasingly daring risks to solve the case herself and eliminate the evidence she left behind indicating her own suspicious involvement. Abrahams has crafted a suspenseful page-turning drama complete with misleading clues and gutsy midnight escapades that make for thrilling intrigue right up to the culminating drowning-in-the-river scene. Ingrid's plucky, if not foolhardy, behavior will have readers both rooting and worrying for her simultaneously as she continues, like Alice, to fall deeper and deeper into the mystery's unfolding. Harrowingly absorbing. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 April #1
The charming 13-year-old heroine of Abrahams's (A Perfect Crime, for adults) murder mystery will guide readers through its many twists and turns. Ingrid Levin-Hill, who, like her hero Sherlock Holmes, is "a habitual noticer of little things," has just been cast as the lead in Alice in Wonderland when she finds herself in a different role-murder detective. The corpse is that of "Cracked-Up Katie," whom Ingrid encountered when she attempted to get from her orthodontist to soccer practice-and wound up five miles away in the poorest part of Echo Falls. The next day, the local paper states that Katie's body was found soon after Ingrid left her house; realizing she's left her red soccer cleats behind, Ingrid breaks in to retrieve them. But she's not the only one in Katie's house that evening. Ingrid's sleuthing is complicated by a budding romance with the police chief's son, and the dialogue crackles with wit-Ingrid gets the best lines. It's disquieting, however, that big brother Ty, the football star, blackens Ingrid's eye in anger without repercussion, and many of the supporting characters are more fully developed than her nuclear family; the town's newspaper editor, her curmudgeonly Grampy and even Cracked-Up Katie come across as more convincing. And dropped threads abound(e.g., will Grampy stave off developers by populating his farmland with endangered eastern spadefoot toads?) Readers who stick with this intelligent, if overstuffed novel will be clamoring for answers-and more of Ingrid. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2005 May
Gr 6-9-An avid reader of Sherlock Holmes, Ingrid Levin-Hill, 13, is also a fleet-footed soccer player with a knack for stage acting-skills that come in handy when she finds herself caught in a police investigation following the murder of an eccentric woman. The deceased was associated with the Prescott Players, a local theater troupe in which Ingrid lands the title role in a production of Alice in Wonderland. Plot scenes incorporate play rehearsals, family life, middle school, and soccer games along with plenty of intriguing twists and mounting tension. Taking courage from her crusty grandfather, who refuses to sell his farm to an affluent developer, Ingrid acts with aplomb as she secretly undertakes a series of suspenseful adventures to track down the killer. She also maintains the cool-headedness to enjoy the friendship of the police chief's son, Joey Strade, while keeping the officers who'd like to question her at bay. Ingrid's poise, however, is tempered by her self-doubt and troubled dreams, making her a believable human. She and the other main characters are all solidly drawn, including the newest member of her family, a droopy-eyed dog named Nigel. Deft use of literary allusions and ironic humor add further touches of class to a topnotch mystery.-Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2005 June
Ingrid is happy enough, if a little distractible, juggling the typical priorities of a thirteen-year-old. When a murder occurs in her small hometown of Echo Falls, however, Ingrid's distractions mount considerably as she finds herself in the strange position of being both suspect and detective. In her quest to solve the murder, events spiral quite out of control until Ingrid's life resembles that of Alice, whom Ingrid is cast as in the local play. She soon finds herself in danger of losing everything important: her decent academic standing, her success in soccer, her role in the play, her boyfriend's respect, and her parents' trust. What she does not know-although the reader does-is that she is also in danger of losing her life This tale is deliciously suspenseful. Ingrid is a refreshing heroine specifically because of her imperfections. Although she is clever and insightful, she regularly takes poorly calculated risks, makes hasty choices, and reacts unpredictably. Ingrid is surrounded by other multifaceted characters in a complex story filled with allusion. With nods to some of the greats including Hitchcock and Holmes, Abrahams creates a tale rich in character and craft, where literary references collide with one another as well as with reality.-Cyndi Gueswel PLB $16.89. ISBN 0-06-073702-6. 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2005 Voya Reviews.

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