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Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking

(14 Day Mysteries #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  601 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Edgar Award Finalist

For fans of The Westing Game and From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler comes a clever, treasure-hunt mystery based on a real-life art heist.

Moxie Fleece knows the rules and follows them--that is, until the day she opens her front door to a mysterious stranger. Suddenly Moxie is involved in Boston's biggest unsolved mystery: The Isabella
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 11th 2013 by Dial Books
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Alice in Readerland
Sep 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Originally posted on Since this book involves a treasure hunt, I’ll be doing this review with “Map/GPS Direction” headers. Because, hey, why not?


I can never resist a good mystery, or a good treasure hunt. So a book that combines both, as well as mentioning From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
in it’s synopsis, was a sure-to-read for me! (Yes, I totally love
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I used to read it all the time and regr
May 19, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a cute little mystery...and I liked it even more once I read the Author's Note and discovered that the Gardner Museum heist referenced in the book was a real crime--one that was never solved. Moxie is a fun narrator, and the mystery is intriguing and engaging without being scary. I like my mysteries with a bit more edge, but this is perfect for younger students looking for a not-so-terrifying mystery. ...more
Norah Mathes
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved the big mystery and all the very exciting parts!
Ms. Yingling
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Moxie lives in Jamaica Plain near Boston with her mother and grandmother. Her grandfather, Grumps, is in a rest home because he has Alzheimers. When Moxie is approached by a red haired woman who gives her a message for her grandfather that Sully Cupcakes wants his stuff back. Grumps doesn’t have enough lucid days to give Moxie any clues; he just tells her that Sully is dangerous. Moxie and her friend Ollie have a great summer after 8th grade planned- they have been given train passes and permiss ...more
Julie Williams
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Moxie has always known her grandfather “Grumps” was in “the business” but when an old associate comes looking around for some missing items she finds out just how involved he was. Moxie has 14 days to locate the missing items…or else. Unfortunately, Grumps has Alzheimer’s and can’t help her out. Using her skills as a mathematician and with the help of her best friend, Ollie she investigates the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist and the role her grandfather played. Moxie’s investigation take ...more
Brandy Painter
I usually enjoy Erin Dionne's books more than I did this one. I think my disappointment was magnified because I had my hopes rather high for this one and was mostly unimpressed. I can see kids loving it though. It has that sort of kid adventure movie feel to it. Kids versus the mobsters, and the kids actually have a chance of winning. The danger never materializes quite like it would in reality. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I could have liked Moxie herself, but I was rolling my eyes b ...more
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Calling this book delightful, enjoyable, and satisfying doesn’t feel fair towards the book. Reading about Moxie Fleece and how she follows the rules that is, until the day she opens her front door to a mysterious stranger. If I were to focus on one other character than Moxie, it would be her best friend, Ollie, a geocaching addict who loves to find stuff. Moxie and Ollie did everything together, from homework to bad sci-fi movies, considering the fact that they’ve been friends since second grade ...more
Dec 13, 2016 rated it liked it
I was pleasantly surprised to find that this story was historical fiction -- sort of. I loved that it was based on a real robbery in Boston and that the setting of the story was centered around places I've visited before. The relationship with Moxie and her grandparents, especially her Alzheimer's-stricken grandfather, was sweet. Other than that, I was a little disappointed in the predictability of the events and the characters. Still, it was a good story. I could see my 8th graders who enjoy my ...more
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
There are many ways to handle the issue of parental permission in books that require children to do a lot of dangerous tasks, such as mystery solving. Sometimes, the parents are conveniently absent on some kind of vacation, or mentally absent due to a demanding job. This is sad but effective.

Another option is parents that know about and endorse the dangerous activity. Perhaps they even participate and become fully fledged characters. This is often unrealistic, but can create the most entertaini
Isabelle Deinstadt
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Moxie Fleece had no idea what sort of secrets her family had been hiding, until the biggest secret was standing on her doorstep. The Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum art heist, Boston's biggest unsolved mystery. Moxie along side her best friend Ollie, would be breaking every rule she had ever been told to follow in order keep her loved ones from danger and to find the missing art pieces. However, Moxie's grandfather suffering from Alzheimer's knew much about the art heist, but couldn't tell Moxi ...more
Lisa Fabiano
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Moxie has just discovered that her Grandfather helped thieves hide the art work stolen during the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist. The problem is, the thieves want it back and her Grandfather has Alzheimer's. Thus it is up to her to find it fast or her family will be in big trouble. With the help of her geocaching loving friend, Ollie, she is determined to solve the mystery. This suspenseful ride through some of Boston's most famous landmarks, makes for a fun read. ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Loved the friendship of Moxie and Ollie, and the teamwork. It was a bit far-fetched at times and adults may find themselves yelling at the book, "Moxie, tell your mother what is going on!" like I did... but it was a fun mystery and the Boston setting added to the adventure. I will recommend to 5th-8th graders for a good mystery. ...more
Norrie ☔️
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
The plot and ideas were really good, but I was not very impressed with the writing. It was not very descriptive and a little bit TOO much like a teenager, like how she has a lot of weird words and one-word sentences. Not really the best way to write a book.
Feb 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
I didn’t realize this was a young adult fiction book when I grabbed it from a free little library, but once I started I figured I’d finish it anyway. A cute if not juvenile story about two best friends searching for stolen art.
May 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
This was a let down. I heard good things, but it disappointed.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. It's really hard to find mystery books for kids in middle school and I am so glad I found this. I recommend this 100 %. ...more
Oliver James
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Pretty good read.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Terrific Bostonian adventure - a firecracker lead character, snappy writing and an excellent puzzle that's exciting all the way through. ...more
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It was a good book from what I can tell from the cover so I want to read it.
Dixie Lynne
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
I DNF'ed this book. I just did not enjoy the plotline. I couldn't get attached to the book. ...more
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Erin Dionne continues to impress me!!
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's kind of slow in the beginning, but the story is really interesting and in the middle of the book I couldn't stop reading. The story is so touching and I really enjoyed it. ...more
Danielle Allen
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Good mystery!
Sep 30, 2020 added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth C
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
February Book Review
Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin Dionne is an adventurous and mysterious novel. Moxie, the main character, is surprised with a ringing doorbell at her house. Unconditionally, she answered it and a red-headed woman shocked the 14-year-old. She asked for her grandfather, Grumps, who had alzheimer's. He was at a memory care center in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. With a little attitude, Moxie closed the door and the red-head put a foot on the doorway. She said she w
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Now that I've read Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking, I can fully appreciate this adorable cover, because it fully captures this book. The only inaccurate part is that Moxie's best friend Ollie is Asian (though I guess this guy could be) and overweight, which I definitely do not think he is. However, the items in purple are part of the plot and that is exactly how Moxie dresses, crazy tights and all. If you could see her from the front, she'd be wearing a concert shirt for sure. Like the cover ...more
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have been anxiously awaiting the release of Dionne’s latest novel, a mystery surrounding the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum art heist. Although the story is fictional, the timing of the release is superb, coinciding with the real heist ‘s reemergence in the news after the theft in 1990 (the FBI has recently claimed they know the people responsible). Anyway, back to the story. Moxie is a rule-follower who is excels in math and appreciates its consistency: “No matter what you do—how many plus ...more
Cassandra Smith
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book "Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking" by Erin Dionne follows around a girl named Moxie in a quest to find priceless pieces of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Moxie's grandfather, now suffering from Alzheimer's, was a criminal in his younger days. Moxie believes he might have hidden the art stolen in the infamous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist after being menacingly confronted by a criminal who wants the paintings "back." Moxie looks for clues and ignores both her ...more
Dec 12, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is a mystery about a young girl who wants the best summer ever with her best friend Ollie but her grandfather who has Alzheimer's past is getting in the way. Moxie and Ollie are getting ready to graduate junior high and will be going to separate high schools and they know that once they start they will be sucked into their new social life and friends. As the school year comes to an end Ollie and Moxies parents decide to give them some freedom they both get a T(card subway card) that al ...more
Nov 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, mystery
Moxie Fleece is looking forward to "the best summer ever" with her best friend Ollie. They will be starting different high schools in the fall and this is the last chance they will have to spend a lot of time together. One morning she opens the door, thinking it is her mother, and finds a red-head woman who tells Moxie that Sully Cupcakes wants his stuff back or else. Moxie's grandpa, Grumps, used to be in the business. He would hide stuff for local criminals. Grumps has Alzheimer's now and live ...more
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I Won This Book 1 6 Dec 20, 2013 08:18PM  

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I write books for tweens, teens, and anyone who survived junior high.

Please note: I have changed my review policy. I'll no longer be using the star rating system--I'm an author, not a reviewer or editor, and I'd rather support other authors by not ranking their books. I write honest (brief) reviews for each book I read, so please look to those to find out what I loved.

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