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Asbury High and the Thief's Gamble

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Asbury, although a haven to shoobies (tourists) in the summer, is a divided coastal town. With the rich half living in the East, and the rest living in the West, most friendships stay within their boundaries. Luckily for a spunky-smart tomboy, a clever billionaire athlete, a gossipy-in-the-know cheerleader, and a wrong side of the tracks technological genius, boundaries are a foreign concept. In fact, Maddie, Cornelious, Carly and Pilot have been Asbury’s strongest quartet for years, despite their vast differences. Nevertheless, after a few weeks of starting high school, the foursome’s friendship is tested.
After a string of burglaries in East Asbury, the gang decides to solve the crime as a reason to make time for each other. The further they investigate, the more they find themselves constantly side-stepping tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum-like policemen, outsmarting local bully JB and his gang of misfits, and dealing with Cornelious’ billionaire father and Governor---who has disapproved of his son’s choice of friends for years. In addition to these obstacles, the foursome must also adapt to their evolving friendship with each other and their peers.
With upperclassmen, teachers, and teammates vying for their attention, the gang must work even harder to root out the red-herrings from the true thief. Aided by Carly’s gossip, Maddie’s boldness, Cornelious’ quick-wit, and Pilot’s knack for technology, the gang soon discovers its edge over the local police department.

265 pages, Paperback

Published February 1, 2020

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About the author

Kelly Brady Channick

9 books264 followers
Growing up just over the bridge from Ocean City, NJ in Upper Township meant discovering plenty of fun places to both read, write, and run around outside like a maniac. In fact, for as long as she could remember, Kelly loved making up stories, and leaving her listeners/readers on the edge of their seats. Perhaps that’s why she always managed to talk herself out of trouble...
So, if her past teachers and/or coaches are reading this, maybe its time to reconsider some of the tales she may have told back in the day.

After graduating from Ocean City High School, Kelly accepted a basketball scholarship to Holy Family University, in Philadelphia. Upon graduating college, Kelly continued to live in Philly, teaching for four years, and meeting the love of her life during a snowstorm. In fact, it was her awesome husband who encouraged her to pursue her writing--Yay, Ryan!

Before writing page-turners however, she taught first, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade — like a dessert menu, she simply had to test them all out. But her favorite job is the one she’s now doing full time: writing.

As her first published work, the Asbury High series has been brewing since she was 18, and has something for every type of reader--go ahead take look for yourself! If you love mysteries, you've found your new favorite author. Kelly loves to craft whodunit mysteries, leading readers through various twists and turns filled with red-herrings, hidden clues, and more peculiar characters than a reality show. As an athlete, she hopes that the importance of teamwork and overcoming adversity, is also quite clear in her writing

Kelly lives in South Jersey with her handsome husband, energetic baby boys, two cookie-stealing dogs, and an awfully smart cat. If you want to know when Kelly’s next book will come out, please visit her website at http://www.kbchannick.com, where you can sign up to receive emails providing updates for new releases, or contact her directly, as well as win fun giveaways, and receive up to date news.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 58 reviews
Profile Image for Cameron Ayers.
Author 1 book28 followers
May 3, 2020
Asbury High and the Thief’s Gamble is a teen-focused novel about four high school freshmen who take it on themselves to solve a spate of burglaries in their small coastal town by relying on the power of friendship, preposterous theories and dumb luck.

My biggest problem with this book is that nothing makes sense. The Justice Department is called in to investigate one of the burglaries with no explanation, while all subsequent investigations are handled by the local police. A restaurant run by the two best chefs in the country combines pancakes and tacos, and has a sign that’s visible from space. During Thanksgiving dinner at the governor’s mansion, a reporter literally leaps out of a closet — meaning he broke into the house and hid there for most of the meal — all to ask some softball question about how it feels to be rich. A teenage hacker gives every senior citizen in the country free healthcare … somehow. Sports in this town are apparently played with the Marquess of Queensbury Rules, as a soccer match is described as “a literal bloodbath” and a single football game requires six ambulances to transport all the injured players to the hospital. Maybe they should be the ones getting the free healthcare.

My personal favorite on the weird-o-meter: the governor hosts a Halloween ball each year, and attendance is compulsory for all Asburyans with the means to pay. Think about that for a second. This town’s council passed a law requiring people go to a party and then set payment thresholds for entry. Ignoring how this is all hilariously unconstitutional, it seems like a fantastic waste of time and taxpayer money. During said ball, underage workers covered in mud provide refreshments while smoke pours out of all the bathrooms, because I guess OSHA doesn’t have enough on its plate.

As you might expect for such a strange town, the adults in this book are uniformly bonkers. The governor is such a cartoonish villain that he makes Lucius Malfoy look like Mister Rogers. Cops threaten to throw children in jail. The parents of a 14-year-old girl are totally cool with boys sleeping in her bed; two at a time, in some cases. One adult sings the morning announcements over the intercom. A teacher uses a math equation to suggest that the parent of one of his students is a criminal, presumably just to torment the girl. The adults in this story aren’t quirky or buffoonish, which is what I think the author was aiming for. They’re clinically insane. It’s just fortunate that this mass delirium somehow skipped a generation, as their kids come across as comparatively normal.

Just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with giving your story its own distinct reality, but to do that you need two things: first, you need to apply the unreality consistently; and second, you need to incorporate some kind of structure or rules to explain it. The author clearly adores the Harry Potter series, as she references it numerous times, so let’s use that as an example. J.K. Rowling drew a sharp distinction between the magical realm and the muggle world to explain how wizards and magical creatures could coexist with cars and computers. Wizards were under strict instructions to follow a code to avoid muggle detection. And the rules of magic there worked consistently. A spell that levitated students one day wouldn’t make them explode the next. But this book provides no such clarity or consistency. One minute, we see awkward teens trying to fit in at school. The next minute, gym teachers are carving Mount Rushmore out of spittle and AI-controlled kitchens are producing Pop-Tarts on command. I practically got whiplash from all the double-takes I did trying to make sense of this novel.

Additionally, this book has numerous mistakes: sloppy grammar, tensing problems, narrative voice changes, random capitalization, formatting issues, and improper word selection (e.g.: “whenever a fight broke out, everyone seemed to digress”). To be fair, most of these issues are minor, but since they occur every other page on average, they collectively add up to something major. All of this should have been addressed by the editor credited in the book.

Needless to say, I am not the target audience for this book, and you can make a reasonable argument that many of them won’t care about the issues I’m raising here. However, I would disagree. Young teens may not be able to articulate their disbelief in a small town police force serving an arrest warrant on a non-violent suspect at 2 in the morning (and somehow finding a judge willing to sign off on it without a shred of evidence), but they’re savvy enough to sense that something about that scenario is off.

I think the premise of this story has potential, but it needs to be rewritten from the ground up — with a different editor — and released in a revised edition to smooth out these numerous rough edges.

2.5 Stars, rounded up to 3.
Profile Image for Andrea Hintz.
Author 30 books90 followers
March 5, 2020
Amazing book with so much suspense and mystery! I am so excited to read the next books in this series!
2 reviews
February 8, 2020
Kelly Brady Channick's debut novel Asbury High and the Thief's Gamble is a captivating story where four, unlikely best friends try to solve the shore town of Asbury's recent burglaries. Asbury is a financially segregated shore community where the mega-rich live East-side and the rest of the town lives in the West. Despite the stresses of starting freshmen year of high school, Maddie, Cornelius, Carly and Pilot find time to discover evidence, narrow down suspects and plan out how to prove legitimacy over Asbury's police department.

Over the weekend, I read and finished Asbury High and the Thief's Gamble. Even though this book may be considered "Young Adult", anyone and everyone would enjoy Kelly Brady Channick's story about Asbury! As a thirty-something-year-old adult, this was a nostalgic way of remembering life as a young teen. I found myself wishing I could be a member of this eclectic friend group. I am especially excited to learn that Asbury High and Thief's Gamble is just the beginning of Channick's new series! I look forward to following Maddie, Pilot, Carly and Corneilus in their many future adventures together. ​
Profile Image for Carla.
5,926 reviews129 followers
April 16, 2020
4.5 Stars: Kelly Brady Channick's story, Asbury High and the Thief's Gamble, is a wonderful YA mystery where four best friends solve a string of burglaries. Asbury is a seaside town that is economically segregated. The rich live in East Asbury, while everyone else lives in West Asbury. The richest family in town, the Gibbz, have son Cornelius. He is a rebel to his mega-rich, governor father and is best friends with Carly, also from a rich family, as well as Maddie and Pilot from the wrong side of town. They met in the second grade and now Freshman at Asbury High, his dad is still trying to get him to find "more acceptable" friends. When the story starts we meet the friends and learn about them, their interests and activities as well as some of the hardships they deal with from other students. Despite the stress of starting freshmen year of high school, Maddie, Cornelius, Carly and Pilot make time to discover evidence, narrow down suspects and plan how to solve the burglaries occurring in East Asbury. Maddie has some extra motivation for her investigation. Will the police take 15 year olds seriously? Will anyone talk to them when they are investigating?

When I began reading the book, I was a bit worried as it seemed it was more about highschool life and friendship, but after about 25%, the mystery kicked in and the fun began. At first the group wanted to solve the mystery for something to do, but things became personal for Maddie, and she dove in with gusto. There were not a lot of suspects, so everyone, including the police were stumped. The group did uncover a few pieces of evidence and figure out some things that the police did not, but they were not sure what to do with it. The author skillfully dropped some clues and some red herrings, although I did figure out most of who was involved, although there was more. The final twist at the end was fun and I enjoyed how the group put the pieces together to solve the full mystery. I recommend this book to young mystery lovers, but I also enjoyed this story as it brought back some great memories. I am looking forward to what is next for Carly, Maddie, Pilot and Cornelius in Asbury. Thanks to Great Escapes Tours for my copy of this book. The rating, ideas, and opinions shared are my own.
Profile Image for Nico Genes.
Author 5 books119 followers
April 30, 2020
3,5 stars
Interesting YA mystery - Who did it?

Maddie, Cornelious, Carly, and Pilot have been friends for years, even though they came from different parts of Asbury. Cornelious and Carly lived on the Eastside, the part of the city where the wealthy lived, Maddie and Pilot, came from the Westside. They didn’t care about this difference, on the contrary, Cornelius often wished to be more like Maddie and Pilot, free from the burden of coming from a wealthy family and making sure to live up for his status and family’s expectations.

They all went to the same high school trying to spend together as much time as possible during free hours. They decided to start an adventure to make their first year of high school funnier. They were to become detectives helping solve the mystery behind a series of burglaries that started happening in East Asbury. We get to see the group of four working as little detectives while going on with their lives. There is also a little romance and a change of characters, for the better, aka Eric. I liked the most Pilot, he’s the kind of guy anyone would like to be. Even though he wasn’t wealthy, he had everything else: smart, funny, trustworthy, and lovable. While I did enjoy reading about their lives and strong friendship, I would have preferred more to see the mystery element more underlined, from the moment it occurred.

Being the author’s debut novel I believe this one marks a good start. The group of four has the potential to go through many other adventures. I had a bit of a problem connecting with the first part of the book, but the moment the mystery kicked in, the story got interesting. Looking forward to reading more from the author.
Profile Image for Ambitious Bibliophile.
1 review1 follower
July 14, 2020
Asbury high and the thief's gamble, this book has so much more, I never expected that it will fulfill the need. It has mystery - crime fiction , teen -romance, little drama and much more. This book is perfect for young adults and teens,
The story revolve around four pubescent kids of Asbury high school, they are smartly and bravely fight the crime and find out the real perpetrator of crime in their town.
Although it is little boring in beginning but when you connect yourself with storyline you will finish it in one go and eager to read the next sequal. Glad i came across this book, and vehemently want to jump on the the next sequal -: Asbury high and the percels of poison.
February 16, 2020
Great book!

This is a great book about a group of high school friends who go out to try to solve some burglaries around the town of Asbury. This is a youth detective book. It's an excellent comedy mystery! Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Lucien.
96 reviews14 followers
July 1, 2022

gotta admit, i loved it's beginning, but i lost interest at the middle and end 🧐 it had great atmosphere, but the characters didn't work for me. cornelius was my favourite, in the sense that he had a sort of lonely childhood and hard relationship with his father. pilot was awesome, too! but, overall, characters were flat, uninteresting and repetitive. i was excited the most for the mystery part of the novel, and that was the most disappointing and underwhelming 😔 i enjoy it, and i sort of want to read the next novel as well. but, yeah it felt flat. we also get a map of the town at the start of the book, but never really get to use it in the story? (as to use it as a guide for clues or whatnot). i guess it's just a cool extra.
Profile Image for Joshua Grant.
Author 24 books237 followers
February 23, 2021
Kelly Brady Channick brings us a brand new cozy mystery set in high school with Asbury High and the Thief’s Gamble! Four friends begin their career in high school doing what they can to fit in. But when one of them is framed, the four must band together to figure out who really dunnit. I loved the lighthearted feel of Channick’s writing harkening back to the classics like The Hardy Boys! This charm and the endearing characters really made this one a fun read! If you love cozy mysteries and more lighthearted high school lit, come test out your detective skills at Asbury High!
Profile Image for J.J. Lair.
Author 5 books37 followers
April 17, 2020
I like these characters. They are good friends that joke, confide and trust each other. Each teacher has a personality, not just boring adults.
The robberies start late and when it starts it doesn’t take over the story. We get a little teen romance. Maddie is a great character. Pilot has potential in future books. Eric Henry wasn’t very present, but he seems likable.
The story wraps up efficiently and with some good twists.
I look forward to more from this author.
2 reviews
March 7, 2022
I received complimentary copy of the book from the author via Voracious Readers Only.
After a confusing first chapter (thanks to the introduction of so many characters) I was pleasantly impressed with the rest of the book. It reminded me of a Scooby doo plot, in that Maddie and her friends have decided to try and solve the mystery of a string of burglaries in their town. Each of the four main characters adds their own unique talents and personalities to the case, and in a town where anyone can become a suspect, there is a nice theme about how people can change from how you originally viewed them, for better or for worse. This book is a great read for any ages.
1 review
February 22, 2020
I really enjoyed reading Asbury High and the Thief's Gamble. This book is an appealing story for middle-schoolers. It is a great example of the theme Friendship where characters are very supportive of each other.
January 15, 2022
I absolutely loved this! This fearless foursome are as relatable as they are adorable and I couldn't put it down, cheering them on the whole way.
Would love to read any follow ups - when will Cornelious reveal his true feelings?!
Profile Image for Bea Stanza.
83 reviews4 followers
January 19, 2023
Asbury High and the Thief's Gamble by Kelly Brady Channick

"I am not qualified for this. I AM NOT qualified for this. Oh my gosh! I was just supposed to wrote some stuff down and then act like I care. Ummm. Go to the principal. Both of you... Please?" 

- Page 95

The first year of high school can be hard, but it's even harder when your mom is accused of stealing from people who live in the rich part of town.

Maddie, Carly, Cornelious, and Pilot have all been friends since elementary school, and now that they're in high school their friendship will be tested more than most. But together they stand up to bullies and stick together to make high school less of a drag. 

This group of friends is determined to stay together in high school, even though people usually make new friends in high school, but solving a crime is a good way to stay together.

This story is well-written and the characters are believable. If you enjoyed the Sweet Valley High series, but want something more modern, this is the book for you. It works great as a stand-alone book, but is actually the first in a series!

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author via Voracious Readers Only
285 reviews1 follower
January 20, 2022
Review through Voracious Readers Only

Fun wee read for young readers. Perhaps middle school age. 4 unlikely friends at high school join together to find who has been robbing the rich homes. An unexpected ending which is always good to keep one guessing. A great mix of main characters but also some interesting minor characters along the way. An enjoyable wee whodunit
Profile Image for Pam C..
206 reviews1 follower
January 23, 2023
Fun youth fiction. This group of friends is very eclectic yet belongs together. Rich athlete guy, nerdy computer guy, cheerleader, and smart chick make up this group who turn into detectives to solve the local thefts. Ansty teenager stuff abounds. Overall, easy to read with good characters.
1 review
February 12, 2020
Asbury High and the Thief's Gamble is an engaging mystery novel for young adults full of fun and insight. 4 high schoolers experience the obstacles encountered with life & friendship in the beach town, Asbury. Add the novel’s touch of suspense, and you won’t want to put it down.
It is also very entertaining for me (a 30 year old), my friends, and family - so you get the point. I really recommend this book for people who are looking for a quick enjoyable read. Can’t wait to read the next book in the series!
1 review1 follower
February 11, 2020
Cool whodunit story...The four teen characters take you on a ride filled with twists and adventures... A very tasty ending...
1 review
February 12, 2020
My next favorite series! This mystery novel is sure to entertain any reader - can’t wait for the next book to be released! It is intelligently written with captivating characters & plot.
Profile Image for Thereadingbell.
1,330 reviews28 followers
March 13, 2022
Asbury High and The Thief's Gamble by Kelly Brady Channick
This book was about 4 freshmen high school teenagers who are best friends in a small coastal town. In the town it is split between east and west Asbury which side you live on depends on the wealth of your family. The 4 friends decide to take it upon themselves when some burglary's begin to occur. The 4 try to solve the crime will they solve it?

This is a debut book by Mrs. Channick and she brings this town, high school and kids to life. It was very entertaining and a quick read. What I liked the most is that I did not figure out who was committing the burglaries it left me guessing until it was revealed. Who I thought was committing the crime was not the red herring. This was a fun read that keeps you on your toes there was a lot of themes in the book with some of the wealthy parents in town seem to be a bit much.

I loved the teens abilities some athletic which added to the story, a smart tech kid and a cheerleader who stories made it more than just a mystery. I felt this was a story within a story mixed with a mystery to add to its entertaining value.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery it is YA type mystery but just as good. I rate this 4.5 stars.

Thanks to Netgalley and Kelly Brady Channick for a free copy of the book for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
312 reviews76 followers
June 8, 2020
The Thief's Gamble is the first book in the YA mystery series Asbury High. Set in the seaside town of Asbury the book follows a foursome of BFF's as they maneuver their first year of high school, eat pancake tacos and solve the crimes the local police department can't seem to be bothered to.
The group is vaguely reminiscent of the Scooby gang; Cornelius, the super rich but down to Earth leader, Maddie the beautiful best friend who is oblivious to the chemistry between them, Carly the rich but sweet, out of your league type who loves to shop who's ideas are never taken seriously during the investigation and Pilot, the loveable goofball who is a master of all things electronic and an all around genius. While there is no loveable dog to round out the group Cornelius does have a cousin named Dane, which I like to think is a nod to Scooby's breed, the Great Dane. Or maybe I'm just reading more into than I should, who knows?!
While this book is technically YA, it reads younger and personally I would class it as a mid-grade series instead. The book felt a little chaotic and immature. I would recommend this for 10-12 year olds.

Thank you very much to the author, Kelly Brady Channick, for providing me with copies of the books to review! All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Vicky | A City Girl's Thoughts.
144 reviews7 followers
October 27, 2020
I would like to thank Kelly Brady Channick for reaching out and providing me with a free e-copy in exchange for my honest review!

I like how Channick wrote about 14 year olds starting HS, which isn't the norm for YA authors. She captured Maddie, Cornelious, Carly, and Pilot's friendship with all the ups and downs, highs and lows, and teen drama that's common during that time period teenagers face when they're transitioning from middle to high school! I loved their friendship and how they fought over the obstacles thrown at them from society and Governor Gibbz, Cornelious' dad. There are certain parts Channick could've cut down on, such as the part where she describes their day-to-day actvities inside and outside of school, but other than that I enjoyed her story! I look forward to reading her sequel Asbury High and the Parcels of Poison!
Profile Image for Sam.
4 reviews
September 15, 2020
Full of mystery and suspense, this story follows four friends as they try to solve a case of burglaries plaguing the town. Juggling high school and home life, they are still able to do what others can't, locating clues and figuring out things that had been missed. If not careful, it could end up leading down a path that some might not wish travel.

With unique characters who fit together like abstract puzzle pieces, playing off one another to beautiful effect, and plenty   going on at any given moment, the author paints a picture of intrigue, making for a well-paced story with a pay off that delivers. I was so happy to find out that this was only the first in the series, and look forward to picking up on the further escapades of Maddie, Carly, Cornelius and Pilot in book two. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys YA, crime stories, mystery and humour.
1,340 reviews
February 24, 2022
Asbury High and the Thief’s Gamble
Kelly Brady Channick
I wanted to like this but there is just so much that I can't. I found this book to be messy and confusing. I didn't feel the excitement, all I got was that the kids were pretty much hanging out in albeit weird situations. I do not recommend. Sorry!

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
1 review1 follower
February 10, 2020
This was an intriguing young adult crime novel, filled with humor and action. I especially enjoyed the sports scenes and the plots twists throughout.
Profile Image for Karen (BaronessBookTrove).
871 reviews84 followers
April 26, 2020
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy from the Great Escapes Book Tours. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Asbury High and the Thief's Gamble by Kelly Brady Channick is a modern-day Scooby-Doo gang in high school solving crimes.
Can Maddie, Cornelious, Pilot, and Carly figure out who the culprit is before the police arrest the wrong person?
The teenage sleuths
The teenage sleuths are Maddie, Cornelious, Pilot, and Carly. Each one is very different but they work well together. I dubbed them in my head the new Scooby gang despite the fact that they don't have a talking dog and that they don't resemble one of the gang members individually. Maddie and Pilot are from the west side of Asbury which puts them on the poor side while Cornelious and Carly are from the east side of Asbury which puts them in the rich part of town. Cornelious is very rich though. Despite these outward differences the four friends don't care and they work great together. The four of them have grown from the beginning to the end on how they act not just with each other but with the people around them. Whether that be their peers or sometimes their parents.
The Mystery
The mystery happens to be one person going around the rich people's house's in East Asbury and stealing from them. I had no clue who the person could be, but I had an inkling, and that inkling turned out to be true. Our new Scooby gang has been dealing with trying to figure this out a lot because they want justice to be done correctly. I am honestly impressed with how they were trying to solve the case while doing their sports and doing their homework for school.
Five Stars
Asbury High and the Thief's Gamble by Kelly Brady Channick is an excellent book. I was hooked from the beginning of it and could only think of when I first found out that it's like a younger version of the Scooby gang. I have to say that this group is fascinating and completely different than the Scooby gang. Certain things that they did in the book made me think of them in that way. I am giving this book five stars, and recommending it to anyone that loves a good cozy mystery. 

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Profile Image for Christy.
854 reviews35 followers
April 27, 2020
Asbury High and The Thief's Gamble is a little bit "Scooby Doo"/"Nancy Drew" with a little bit of "Riverdale" thrown in.  The main characters in the book have been friends for years even though two of them are from the East side of town and two are from the West side. The East-siders are the ones with money, but that hasn't stopped these friends from sticking together. As we know, high school comes with challenges. The gang are involved in sports and activities plus they've got their homework. They still find time to hang out though.

When the East-siders' homes begin being robbed, the West-siders come under suspicion. This doesn't sit well with the gang since they know trouble comes from both sides of town. Investigating the string of robberies comes with its challenges, but thanks to Pilot, the tech genius, the gang can get some inside information.

The author has called this a young adult cozy mystery, and for the most part, I agree. It has some swearing, but it seems like cozy mysteries these days do have more swearing than in the past. There is also underage drinking and sexual innuendo, so be aware of this if you're getting this for your young reader. It has the feel of a cozy mystery due to the close knit group of friends and non-gruesome mystery. In addition, the main characters are the real sleuths much to the consternation of the local police, and that's usually the case in cozy mystery books.

I thought that the interaction among the gang was fun and realistic...typical of high school friends. I liked getting to know members of Maddie's close-knit family and appreciate the fact that they are supportive of one another. All the family members are expected to pitch in without question. I felt sorry for Cornelius since his dad thinks success, money, and knowing the right people are what life is about.

Asbury High and The Thief's Gamble is the first book in this series. Who knows what mystery the gang's sophomore year will hold?
Displaying 1 - 30 of 58 reviews

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