Thursday, August 29, 2013


Max Starling's theatrical father likes to say that at twelve a boy is independent. He also likes to boast (about his acting skills, his wife's acting skills, a fortune only his family knows is metaphorical), but more than anything he likes to have adventures. Max Starling's equally theatrical mother is not a boaster but she enjoys a good adventure as much as her husband. When these two disappear, what can sort-of-theatrical Max and his not-at-all theatrical grandmother do? They have to wait to find out something, anything, and to worry, and, in Max's case, to figure out how to earn a living at the same time as he maintains his independence. This is the first of three books, all featuring the mysterious Mister Max.
Hardcover, 1st ed, 400 pages
Expected publication: September 10th 2013 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

First line:
"On a bright Sunday morning in the early years of the last century, a bellhop from the Hotel Excelsior knocked at the front door of 5 Thieves Alley, the home of William and Mary Starling of the Starling Theatrical Company, and their son, Maximilian."

A rollicking good story with mystery and solutions.
Max's parents left him while they went to live in a palace and perform. Well, Max was left accidentally. Luckily, Max's grandma lived just behind the Starling's home and was there to help Max not be a loner at the age of twelve.
Middle grade readers will enjoy this book with Max as the main character. His partner later in the book is Pia and she's a fun and fast-talking partner to Max who isn't a detective but finds solutions to problems.
Max's parents are well-known actors and own their own company and theater. When Max is left to almost live on his own, he has access to his father's costumes and acts the parts that he has seen so many times. When he needs to be a detective, he wears a certain costume or when he needs to look the part of a teacher, he wears those clothes that suit the situation.
And Max is able to solve several mysteries with his quick thinking and smarts. It was fun to try and guess the outcome of the mysteries. This is why I know middle grade readers and up will enjoy this book. It might also be fun as a book to read out loud.
This is the first book in the series and has a cliffhanger.

Rating: G
V: No
S: No
L: No


Adults who couldn't see past Max's costumes (I do realize this is MG and will appeal to MG readers)

Thanks, netgalley!


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