Patrice Sartor's Reviews > Shakespeare's Secret

Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach
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Aug 23, 10

bookshelves: mystery, tween, young-adult

GENRE: Fiction, mystery, adventure, historical fiction elements.

SUMMARY: Hero's family is heavily into Shakespeare; her father's work is even related to Shakespeare. She was not interested in it, especially not after being saddled with a name from one of Shakespeare's plays that also happens to be the name of a classmate's dog. Her interest in history changes after she becomes friends with their new next-door neighbor, an elderly lady that tells Hero a story about a diamond that used to be in the house, and may still be hidden inside somewhere. With the help of an unlikely new friend, Danny, one of the most popular boys in eighth grade, Hero becomes determined to find the diamond and uncover its history.

EVALUATION: I don't normally enjoy mysteries, though perhaps since this is not in the normal 'someone's been murdered/robbed/accosted whodunit?' vein, I thought it was fairly good. The story also deals with Hero's jealousy of her older sister, and touches on the awkwardness that kids to a new school can feel. I especially liked the references to the Elizabethan period, and the discussion revolving whether or not William Shakespeare actually wrote all of those plays.

WHY I WOULD INCLUDE IT: This is a very approachable, intriguing mystery. I don't know whether or not the theories surrounding the legitimacy of Shakespeare's work are correct or not, nor do I know how accurate the potential history behind the necklace is, but I became quite involved in both. That is what really drew me into the story, and if parts of it are correct, then there is some educational value to this book. If it is all fiction, it could still provide a dynamic discussion to interested tweens.

READER'S ANNOTATION: Hero and Danny work together to solve the mystery of a diamond worth millions that may be hidden in Hero's house.

ITEMS WITH SIMILAR APPEAL:
• Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison.
• Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams.
• The Dark Stairs by Betsy Cromer Byars.
• The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd.
• The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.
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