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The Big Splash (Big Splash #1)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  300 ratings  ·  93 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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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
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
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
Gwen the Librarian
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
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
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
Loved it. Noir for the middle school set. Great narrator, fun. I hope there's another Matt Stevens mystery in the works.
Mar 27, 2013 Catie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catie by: Prince William County Public Library's Juvenile Section
3 1/2 stars

First Library Quest: Completed!
The Loft
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
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
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
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 05, 2009 Sarah rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
*** 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
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
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
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
Zack Knight
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
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
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
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
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
I got a big kick out of this one. Written as a sort of middle school film noir, there are crazy similies to be found throughout this book. How awesome is that? I thought that this book was very clever.

A little over the top perhaps (not a problem for me), and I did find one minor inconsistancy(it don't confuse or alter the main plot), and the characters are somewhat superficial (as is often the case in film noir), but highly enjoyable nevertheless.

I kind of imagine that I'd give this book to some
This is a humorous mystery set in a middle school, "The Frank." Matt Stevens is our tough-guy private eye, like a youthful Sam Spade. First he is hired by Vinnie Biggs, the middle school crime lord, to retrieve an object from Vinnie's ex, then he must find the culprit who super-soaked Nicole Finnegan, a.k.a. Nikki Fingers. Nikki used to be Vinnie's best trigger artist (now she is reformed and out of a life of crime) and most of the school has a grudge against her. I don't know that young readers ...more
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
Robert Kradoska
Clever story set in middle school with kids acting like adult gangsters and one kid a good detective
Very fun! Matt Stevens is your stereotypical hard-boiled noir fiction private eye, except that he's 12 years old and his mean streets are middle school hallways. It can be tricky navigating a world of organized crime bosses and tough, treacherous females with names like Nikki Fingers and Vinny Biggs. Intrepid and resourceful, Matt has the patter down pat: "I hopped on my bike and rode home, reviewing the events of the day. They rolled around in my brain like billiard balls on a table with no poc ...more
The "middle school Mafia" premise of this mystery has been lauded in reviews as "clever" (ALAN) and "ingenious" (PW), but I personally found it grating. The honor student/thief who's addicted to Pixy Stix: "By the middle of last year, Peter was hitting the juice six times a day, every day. That kind of habit takes a lot of dough . . . Once sugar gets its claws into you, it doesn't like to let go, and there's no telling what you'll do just to get another fix." That's the style of the whole book. ...more
Such a clever book - I love the voices and settings and the general aura of noir. I had the guilty party pegged pretty quickly, but had no idea what the motive was, so I enjoyed watching the case unfold. The plot revolves around bullies and bullying and, if I'm recalling correctly, the book has a couple of swear words but nothing else that might be considered questionable. This one will be enjoyed by middle schoolers who like their mysteries believable or who are intrigued by popularity, cliques ...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:

More about Jack D. Ferraiolo...

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