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Wicked Will: A Mystery of Young William Shakespeare
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Wicked Will: A Mystery of Young William Shakespeare

3.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  63 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
To the outside world, Tom Pryne is an orphan traveling Elizabethan England with his uncle’s theater troupe. In actuality, “Tom” is Viola, in disguise because her parents’ Catholic sympathies have put them at odds with the law and forced them into hiding. When the actors arrive in the sleepy little town of Stratford-on-Avon, Viola’s uncle is arrested for murder, and she joi ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Aladdin (first published June 23rd 2009)
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Cricket Muse
Dec 25, 2013 Cricket Muse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bailey MacDonald provides the beginnings of a promising new series. Combing history with mystery, readers will learn about a historical figure while trying to unravel a suspenseful tale. Both books center around well-known historical personalities, yet MacDonald focuses on aspects during a time period that most history books tend to gloss over, which is their young adolescence. MacDonald seamlessly weaves in an abundance of historical information into the engaging plot without bogging the story ...more
Apr 24, 2010 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the way into the town of Stratford-on-Avon in 1576, the acting troupe Lord Edgewell’s Men pick up a local guide, twelve-year old Will Shakespeare. Thomas Pryne, at fourteen the youngest player with the company, can’t stand him. Will is anxious, curious and asks questions, questions, questions. Thomas has some family troubles that shouldn’t be shares with some chatty kid. “He might be nothing more than a rude county boy, but already I could tell he loved his books and his tales and words, word ...more
Alyce (At Home With Books)

Wicked Will is a chapter book mystery targeted at the nine to twelve year-old age group, and at times I wondered if this book would really appeal to kids of that age. My son is eight, and while I think he would like the mystery aspect of the story, he doesn't know who Shakespeare is yet, and some of the subject matter towards the end of the book seems inappropriate for his age. Also, the lawyer in the book uses Latin, and I would think that would be a turn off for most kids.

The first few chapter
Jane Irish Nelson
The Wicked Will of the title isn't a person, but a document. A document that divides a family. When a troupe of players arrives in Stratford, the first person they meet is 12-year-old Will Shakespeare, who offers to show them where they can set up camp, and introduce them to the town officials. Will strikes up a friendship with Tom Pryne, the troupe's apprentice, who has secrets of his own. But when Tom's uncle is accused of murder, Will is full of plots to find the real culprit.
Beth G.
Tom Pryne appears to be an average 12-year-old boy apprenticed to his uncle's troupe of traveling players, wandering the countryside of Elizabethan England in search of audiences for their shows. But all is not as it seems, and Tom's true identity is a secret that could endanger his very life if revealed. In the town of Stratford, Tom is befriended by an imaginative young chatterbox named Will Shakespeare. Tom isn't looking for friends, but when his uncle is arrested on suspicion of murdering a ...more
Miss Amanda
gr 5-7 201 pgs

1575, Stratford upon Avon, England. 12 year old Viola, disguised as a boy, is traveling with her uncle, a traveling performer, while her parents are in hiding. When her uncle is accused of murder, Viola is worried, but young Will Shakespeare is convinced that together they can find the real murderer and set her uncle free.

***spoiler: murder & suicide

Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for

When Viola dresses as a boy and joins her uncle's troupe of traveling players and arrives in Stratford, her uncle gets accused of murder and imprisoned. With the help of Will, a young boy she meets in the troupe, they devise plans to prove the man's innocence, but all fail.

Can Will and Viola solve the murder and save her uncle?

WICKED WILL is a great adventure-filled mystery. The characters are entertaining and allude to Shakespeare's plays without overpower
Pamela Huxtable
Sakura medal 2011 contender.

A charming plot and idea for a juvenile mystery. Young Will Shakespeare befriends the narrator, Tom/Viola, a member of a traveling group of players. Together they attempt to solve the murder of Stratford's most ill-tempered man.

Many Shakespeare references, some use of Elizabethan vocabulary, and nice atmospheric details. Yet it did not wow me. I was also surprised at the death toll by the end of the story, and the relatively unhappy ending- quite unusual in a juvenile
Coming into Stratford-On-Avon, a troupe of players meets a voluble and inquisitive young boy named Will Shakespeare. Will very quickly figures out that the narrator - Tom - is really Viola, a girl in disguise because her parents are on the lam. Then the leader of the troupe is accused of murdering an unpleasant local. Can Will and Tom/Viola figure out who did it to save him? Echoes of Shakespeare's plays, and a fast plot with creepy scenes in the charnal house among the bones carry this along.
Dec 30, 2009 Phoebe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a surprisingly well written and atmospheric juvenile mystery, narrated by Tom, AKA Viola, whose parents have a price on their heads for helping a Catholic priest escape the country. Viola is disguised as a boy and travels with her uncle's strolling players. When the players arrive in Stratford, they meet an endearingly portrayed young Will Shakespeare and within 24 hours are in the middle of a murder investigation, with Viola's uncle being the chief suspect.
Jan 26, 2010 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A cute attempt at weaving Shakespeare into the bookshelf of a middle school student but too many inconsistencies in language for this adult reader. Stick with Ye Olde English please.

A few good twists and turns but I don't think it would be enough to keep the intended audience interested. Plus, all of those Shakespearean references are going to go right past the kids and are much too obvious to entertain the adult reader.
Suzanne Eastman
Imagine a story about the famous William Shakespeare as a young boy. Imagine a story where he is always in a little bit of trouble, but still well liked by young and most of the old. Imagine a story where a murder in a small hamlet takes place and young Will with the help of a traveling acting troup member set out to discover who the murder is. Fun adventure with a little bit of history mixed in!
Aug 09, 2009 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice little mystery set in Stratford-upon-Avon during William Shakespeare's youth. One of my favorite parts of this book was the dialogue. I thought it offered a fun introduction for kids to the style of speaking and language that pops up in the works of Shakespeare. It was also interesting to get a glimpse into the imagined beginnings of Shakespeare's interest in writing.
Apr 25, 2010 Kris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three and a half stars. Recommended for gr. 5-8. A mildly entertaining mystery which features as a major supporting character 12-year-old Will Shakespeare. Several plot contrivances, especially towards the end, foreshadow events in some of Shakespeare's plays. Will probably appeal to students (both boys and girls) who are at least minimally familiar with Shakespeare.
Oct 10, 2011 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a delightful story however it might not appeal to elementary students. The language references is a little archaic to modern students who might have difficulty making connections. The mystery aspect was good with quite a few interesting twists and turns but the body count seems a little higher than expected for elementary.
Maggie V
A fun murder mystery set when Shakespeare was a boy. I enjoyed the depiction of him as rambunctious boy with a crazy imagination. The plot was good and some nice subplots to reach a variety of interest. I didn't guess all the twists which is good, but then again I wasn't trying.
Sep 11, 2009 Teri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun, clean read that introduces young readers to Shakespeare.

Readers can get all sorts of background about Shakespeare's life as a child in Stratford while solving a murder mystery with him.
Lorraine Stinson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 26, 2012 Wensday rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-copy
A good story, but have to say it would not be an easy read for its intended audiance. The language is correct for the time period which may be difficult for young readers.
Nov 27, 2013 ColleenaMareena rated it it was ok
Main character is very whiney and negative and unlikeable, and the plot is rushed without going anywhere. It really just feels unpolished. Great concept, but doesn't deliver.
Mar 02, 2011 Andrea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juv-fiction, 2011
A decent attempt to get kids interested in the live and times of Shakespeare and what sort of theater Elizabethan england had.
Sep 03, 2009 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Good book for early middle grades. Cute story of a young Will Shakespeare and the adventures he gets into.
Jan 09, 2010 Sheila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just when you think you have figured it out, another twist and turn and around you go!
Jun 13, 2010 Paulette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A mysery for young readers that kept me reading until the end.
A mystery starring a 12-year-old Willima Shakespeare.
Jul 19, 2009 Dixie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
funny and interesting mystery for kids. i enjoyed it as well.
Ash Friend
Ash Friend marked it as to-read
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