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The Big Splash (Big Splash #1)

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  367 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
A hot debut about an average middle schooler with a knack for solving crimes.

Format: 5 CDs, Unabridged

Matt Stevens narrates this story of how he got sucked into his school's "organization," a mafia-like syndicate run by seventh grader Vincent "Mr. Biggs" Biggio. Matt works to preserve his integrity while avoiding the "Outs," the group of kids who've been publicly humiliate
Audio CD
Published October 1st 2008 by Scholastic Audio Books (first published September 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Mar 24, 2009 Raina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure about the cover, so I put it on hold. While it was sitting in my drawer, waiting to be read, I had a kid ask for a funny mystery. He needed to read a certain number of pages by the end of the week. I saw this on the new book shelf and told him I hadn't read it, but it looked good, and he should try it. He grabbed the book and completely stopped looking.
Less than a week later (note that he'd probably finished the requirement by now), he came back to me, book in hand, and asked what
Rebecca McNutt
Who would've thought that a noir novel could take place in the desolate stone walls of A junior high school? For anyone who loves noir fiction, this book goes at the genre from a comedic standpoint and it's still appropriate for middle-grade readers although adults can enjoy it, too.
May 17, 2009 Robin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adore this book. Clever from beginning to end. First, the idea: a noir detective story, a la "The Big Sleep," set in middle school. And the world these characters inhabit is complete: the detective, the case to solve, the kingpin, his lackies, the swell girl--even the neighborhood "bar" where they can all hang out (I won't ruin what it actually is, because it's one of the many ingenious touches throughout this ingenious book).

Not only is the story flat-out funny and yet also sweet when it com
Apr 09, 2015 Jascha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book "The Big Splash" by Jack D. Ferailolo talks about the main character who is an average boy in middle school named Matt. He is on a mission to find out who was the person that put his fried, Nikki Finnegan in something called the "Outs". The Outs is something pretty difficult to explain but you'll start recognizing what it is once you go through the story. But to sum it up in a nutshell, it is basically when someone sets a trap like for example a water balloon, and then throws it bel ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen for

"The Frank" may seem like a typical middle school, but it's actually run by Vinny Biggs and his gang. Need a stolen exam? Or want a sugar high? You'll have to go through Vinny. Cross Vinny, and you'll be facing one of his "hired assassins."

Vinny's "hired assassins" hold your social life fate in their hands. These assassins hide water guns, and with one quick shot you'll look like you peed your pants, face social humiliation, a
Apr 19, 2010 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
6th&up. Matt Stevens is my hero! Clever, honorable, smart-ass, and determined. This Spenser-like character navigates the treacherous waters of Franklin Middle School with a style you have to respect. Ferraiolo creates a mystery that's perfect for his audience, with some well crafted twists and turns. There's even some nice underlying messages as Matt refrains from jumping to conclusions, stands up to bullies despite the realistic risks that entails, and never gives up on his friends (even wh ...more
Gwen the Librarian
Oct 20, 2008 Gwen the Librarian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidlit
This was a fun and creative noir mystery in the style of the classics like Mickey Spillane. It had me laughing aloud with delight at the language and the similies. AND it wasn't just a gimmick...there were tender relationships, awkward adolescent moments, and a great mystery with twists and turns. I kept wanting to pick it up again when I didn't have time...always a good sign. Look at this, "Nicole Finnegan, a.k.a. Nikki Fingers, was a dream girl...the kind who caused nightmares." How can you be ...more
Jun 27, 2015 Stefanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic middle grade/middle school book, especially for guys. I read this when it first came out, but came across it again recently and was reminded how much I loved it- I need to start handing it out more. Lots of humor (laugh out loud moments, even!) but also a nail-biting mystery.

And I just saw there is a sequel! Yesssssss.
Mar 27, 2013 Catie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catie by: Prince William County Public Library's Juvenile Section
3 1/2 stars

First Library Quest: Completed!
Dec 09, 2008 Marilee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. Noir for the middle school set. Great narrator, fun. I hope there's another Matt Stevens mystery in the works.
Dec 06, 2016 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is funny. That's about all. This book was made to be a parody of the "typical" detective story, with the Mafia, and the private eye, and you know what I'm talking about. It succeeds in that, but in making it unique? Not so much. I got most of the references, but it just seemed so unrealistic to have a middle school ruled by a mob boss. I also didn't think that the portrayal of the victims in the "Outs" as shell-shocked 6 year olds with PTSD would happen in a million years. Now, I know ...more
Lisa  Shamchuk
This book was great - so film noir I could hear the characters talking like on set of a noir film! There was a touch of romance, but more about junior high friendships, all narrated perfectly by our detective. Sure it was written for kids (man I bet junior high boys would love it), but I think the author did such a great job with the film noir tone that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd highly recommend this to any mystery fans who are in, or want to go back to those junior high days!

More: http://mak
May 03, 2011 Foxontherun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-by-friends
As a lover of Raymond Chandler, noir mysteries, humor, and a fan of Jack himself--as a particularly enjoyable conversationalist and general good company--I had pretty high expectations for The Big Splash (especially when I learned that Gordon Korman had done the blurb.)

The premise itself, a hard-boiled detective story set in middle school, is a delightfully clever one. Middle school is, if anything, more gritty, suspenseful and riddled with danger than the seedy underbellies of society that the
Zack Knight
Aug 27, 2013 Zack Knight rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, before we begin, lets talk about how I will conduct my review. I will be grading them on a scale of 10 out of 10. I will award two points for 5 catagories for each book, and if a book is lacking in a catagory, i will deduct half a point to a whole point. These are the catagories: Plot, Characters, Pacing, Originality, and Enjoyment. Alright then lets start the review with a book I started and finished today, The Big Splash, written by Jack D. Ferraiolo.

The story takes place in a typical J
Sep 18, 2013 Sergio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*** Spoil Alert***

The Big Splash is a good book but could be a little confusing. The Big Splash is a mystery book, although it is funny and suspense. I think this book would be a good book to read for kids in middle school. They would enjoy The Big Splash.

Matt Stevens is a smart mouth detective. In The Big Splash Matt Stevens is hired by Vinny Biggs the most notorious kid at the Frank to find out who took out Nichole "Nikki Fingers" Finnegan. Vinny Biggs is a kid who controls the the Frank. H
Tracy Creencia
It's thought-provoking (at least to me) and entertaining at the same time. It is that satiric treatment, the funny narration with those seriousness beneath that gets to me.
The Big Splash has a wonderful noir feel. It has all the pieces; the hard detective, the damsel in distress, the harried newspaper man, the scared sources, the neighborhood bar, the crime boss, the thugs. All of it. It has the fun narration by the detective complete with colorful similes like ‘a bully without intimidation was like a new car without a motor: It may look impressive, but it wasn’t going anywhere,’ and ‘they rolled around my brain like billiard balls on a table with no pockets; noth ...more
The Loft
Mar 08, 2009 The Loft rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-mystery, ya-humor
Imagine taking Phillip Marlowe or Sam Spade and placing them in middle school - that’s how you end up with Matt Stevens. Matt is a no-nonsense private eye working the halls of the ‘Frank’- that’s Franklin Middle School to you.

Matt has the unenviable task of trying to track down who took out Nicole Finnegan, or as she was known up until the end of last year, Nikki Fingers. You see, Nikki was the fastest squirt gun shot around, but as her younger sister Jenny is about to start classes at the Frank
Jul 30, 2012 Triwizard27 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick and easy YA book to read. The noir style mystery set in middle school is enjoyable, and interestingly enough explores the psychology of the seventh graders quite accurately. You have the bullies working for the mafia selling contraband sugary sweets, the bullied in an outcast group called the Outs, and the normal kids trying to survive by attaching themselves to a clique or a certain profession such as hall monitoring or school journalism. At times, the book can't decide between comedy a ...more
Mar 02, 2010 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile, mystery
I’m a big fan of hard-boiled detective stories, so when I saw The Big Splash---the first one of that sort that I’ve ever seen written for a juvenile audience---I really, really wanted to read it. After all, where else but in middle school will you find the situation so ideal for the noir-style mystery? And Jack D. Ferraiolo includes just about all the elements of the genre: there’s an organized crime boss, bully boys, assassins, dangerous dames, a story-hungry reporter, and the law, represented ...more
Jun 05, 2009 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: grades 7-9
Recommended to Sarah by: 7/8 list
Shelves: children-mystery
Matt Stevens is the guy to go to when you need to solve a mystery at Franklin Middle School. Jenny hires him to find out who “took out” her sister using a well-aimed stream from a SuperSoaker watergun. When kids are “taken out,” they become social outcasts. Jenny is determined to know who did it so she can get revenge on her sister’s behalf.

Matt only has a couple of days before the start of the weekend to find the person who did it because, after the weekend, the trail usually goes cold. Between
I'm not sure why this book hasn't received more attention. It covers many of the typical issues of middle school including bullying, self-esteem issues, and public humiliation as well as only passing references to classes and schools. Clearly, the author knows just what matters to middle graders, and it isn't the subjects they are studying. The author peppers in unique vocabulary and slang in this story he tells about seventh grader Matt Stevens, a private eye who wants to find out who is respon ...more
Nice little piece of middle school crime fiction, more akin to Nickelodeon, than BRICK or VERONICA MARS. For the first 80-90 pages I wasn't all that into it, but on page 96, suddenly, all the bits of noir trappings vis-a-vis middle school, all the straining metaphors, snapped into focus:

"Five minutes doesn't seem like a long time, unless you're on the playground getting hammered with kickballs, wearing only socks and a stained diaper. Then five minutes is an eternity. That's how long it took for
The main character of this funny middle school mystery is Matt Stevens, a private eye at Franklin Middle School. He just accepted a job from Vincent "Vinny Biggs" Biggio, the kid behind every deal, from black market candy to forged hall passes. If you get on the wrong side of Vinny, then you get sent to the Outs club, the least popular club, by being shot with a squirt gun. Nicole Finnegan a.k.a. Nikki Fingers, a feared squirt gun assassin, is sent to the Outs, Matt is determined to find who did ...more
Jun 04, 2013 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jason Heilbronner
Book review

The big splash is a mystery book for kids that is full of adventure, mystery, comedy and all around fun.
The book is about a boy names Matt Stevens who goes to a dystopic school. In this school kids run around with water guns shooting people's crotches. Once you get shot you lose all of your friends and are looked down on by everyone. The number one trigger girl in the school gets shot and Matt Stevens is on the case to find out who shot her. In the book, Matt
Oct 28, 2008 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. The description of this book on the dust jacket is hilarious; I don't know if I do it justice when I say it's about a middle-school detective named Matt who accepts a job from the school's wannabe mafia-like boss and then finds himself having to track down the person who squirt-gunned Nikki, who used to be the boss's right hand girl. The writing makes this book like film noir, and I was laughing from the very first page. There is so much to love about this book: the characters are fun ...more
Jul 31, 2009 Hilary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As if navigating the halls of middle school wasn't tough enough! Enter Vinny "Biggs" Biggio and his ruthless crew of squirt gun wielding thugs. One strategically aimed squirt and any middle schooler will find herself on the "outs" faster than a skate on ice. Nicole "Nikki Fingers" Finnegan, the most feared squirt gun assassin in school, is about to get payback, and it's up to Matt Stevens to solve the case and figure out who did Nikki Fingers in.
A fun parody of hard-boiled detective novels comp
Sally Kruger
Franklin Middle School is not your average school. Franklin has the usual classes, teachers, and homework, but it also has a dark side. Matt Stevens is out to make his school a better place.

Although he is only in the seventh grade, Matt has his own private eye business. He has recently been hired by Vincent Biggio who deals in forged hall passes and black market candy. If you cross Vincent, you become part of the Outs, and that's something no one wants. Matt has been hired to find out who took o
A delightfully strange book, halfway between Raymond Chandler and Wendelin Van Draanen. That's honestly a halfway point I never expected to encounter...
The basic premise of a middle school detective has been done before, but Ferraiolo has done a great job of converting all the noir cliches into things which fit a middle school, even Sal's, the dive where they go to drown their sorrows in root beer or celebrate over a cream soda.
The only reason I didn't give it five stars is that I'm still trying
This highly caricatured middle grade story in the vein of a Sam Spade mystery works well in spite of its formulaic setup and knock-off style. A good book for reluctant readers in particular due to its primarily tongue-in-cheek nature. Some willingness to give over to the unrealistic nature of the story is required to enjoy it, but sometimes that's what a fun book is about. Seventh-grade private eye Matt has been tapped by the school's shadiest kid boss to find out who put his famous squirt gun a ...more
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Hi...I'm Jack... I've been editing and writing for tv animation for about ten years now, working on such shows as Squigglevision (ABC), Home Movies (Adult Swim), and O'Grady (The N). I also developed and currently write for WordGirl on PBS, for which I won an Emmy. My first novel, The Big Splash, is like Raymond Chandler meets Goodfellas set in a middle school. Here's a couple of reviews:

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