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Book Reviews - The Secret at Haney Field: A Baseball Mystery

Book lineDizzy Miss Lizzie drawing by Ariana "Dizzy Miss Lizzie by R. M. Clark was a very suspenseful book. I could not put the book down. I was eager to find out what was going to happen. I loved this book and I would give it 10 million stars."
~ Ariana Flores of St. Stanislaus School's 3rd grade






Book line"Kaseyís family has just moved into a new house. She is not really that impressed until she learns that a young girl lived in the same house years earlier and that she killed her parents in a fire. When she meets Lizzy in her basement, Kasey thinks that there has to be more to the story and starts researching it.
But there is more than just ghosts of a girl accused of murdering her parents, there is a curse and a terrible family history that is going to make Kasey fight harder to expose the truth. Time is running out for Kasey to find some proof that Lizzy is innocent and save her father too.
This is a really great story. Kasey is pretty mature and very focused on figuring out what happened with Lizzy and her parents. I love the twist with her family which was unexpected but fit in perfectly.
This is a great young adult story that anyone will like. Make sure to add it to your list. Itís one book that you donít want to miss."
jbronderbookreviews

Book line"I didn't really know what to expect with this book, but it was really fun! It was a fast, easy read, which is good. I enjoyed it! It is well written. I liked the writing style, and thought it flowed well. I liked the characters and thought they were well-developed. I liked how Lizzie and Kasey grew into good friends, and how Kasey tried to learn as much about Lizzie as possible. Even though the premise is impossible, Mr. Clark did a very good job making it seem very plausible. I also loved that it was clean! There was no language, no violence (except a small curse put on someone), and no "physical intimacy." It was great and will be great for some of the younger readers. I don't know if my 10 year-old son will like it, but maybe. Girls his age will for sure enjoy it. I enjoyed it and I'm much older than 10!" ~  the Readathon blogspot

Book line"I loved this book! I read it to my 10-year-old son at night (sometimes he prefers me reading to him) and we both really enjoyed it. The author created an authentic life of a young girl, made all the more realistic by the wonderful friendship between Kasey and Paula. There was enough suspense and mystery to keep us interested, and the touches of history were just enough. We looked forward to reading this book each night to see what would happen next." ~  Tiffany York via Goodreads

Book line "I enjoyed this book. It had good historical and multicultural elements, along with the paranormal, mystery genre. The author did a great job of showing us a glimpse into the life of Victorian life, and simultaneously gave authentic voices to modern-day teenage girls. It was a very good mix of elements that made a delightful read." ~  Cordelia Dinsmore via Goodreads

Book line "Dizzy Miss Lizzie is a delightful read. I would have adored this when I was in middle grade and I was thoroughly entertained, even as an adult. Kasey is an engaging heroine, who is an excellent role model. The story was intriguing, with the mystery element nice and strong. It reminded me how much I once adored Nancy Drew. But Kasey is a girl of our times and she and her best friend are both engaging and modern. The relationships were realistic, the characters, fun and the mystery plausible. I look forward to reading Mr. Clark's next book." ~  Maer via Goodreads

Book line "R.M. Clark's debut middle grade novel, Dizzy Miss Lizzie features a 13-year-old heroine, Kasey Madrid, who moves to a new house with her father and stepmother only to discover what appears to be a ghost in her basement: a 19th-century girl named Elizabeth Bellows who was alleged to have committed a heinous crime. Kasey makes friends with Lizzie while researching Lizzie's story, and soon discovers, along with one of her friends, that there may be more to Lizzie's story than people have thought.
Dizzy Miss Lizzie is an engaging read reminiscent of my favorite mysteries from my own middle-grade years: the Trixie Belden books. Kasey isn't afraid of much, and is willing to do just about anything to solve the mystery and clear Lizzie's name. If there's a paranormal aspect to add to the mystery, all the better.
The mysteries I read at that age feel outdated now, and with Kasey's remarried father and ability to research things online, R.M. Clark has created a new heroine for modern kids to enjoy: finally, one for girls that's contemporary and doesn't involve a focus on stereotypical "girl" things."
~  Cyndy Aleo via Goodreads

Book line "Ah, a good old-fashioned children's ghost story. When is the last time I've read or seen one? You know the type where a child has been killed and is searching for just the right person to find the murderer so that she can be at peace. Or something of the sort. It feels as it's been, well, since the 70s since this plotline was popular. That's back when I read Nancy Drew books and watched Walt Disney movies. Then along comes Dizzy Miss Lizzie by R.M. Clark. Ah, I've missed the genre.
Dizzy Miss Lizzie isn't an exact replica of that motif, especially considering it doesn't contain a ghost. The summer Kasey turns thirteen, she meets a girl in the basement of her family's new creepy house. Kasey learns the girl's name is Elizabeth Bellows, she lived in the nineteenth century, and she was suspected of burning her family's house with her parents still in it. But no, she's not a ghost. When a friendship develops, Kasey begins to wonder if there's a way to exonerate Elizabeth. Eventually, the intrigue thickens, with even more being at stake than Elizabeth's good name.
If you have heard of Lizzie Borden, you may think that Elizabeth's story sounds familiar. This is not a coincidence, as the fictional Elizabeth lived in the same town and at the same time as the real Lizzie Borden. If you have not heard of Lizzie Borden, I will just say that she is suspected of having done what Elizabeth is accused of-except with an axe. You will learn much more about her in this book.
I loved many aspects of Dizzy Miss Lizzie, starting with main character Kasey Madrid. Kasey feels like a younger version of the smart and good detective Nancy Drew who remains a favorite with girls today, some eighty years after her first appearance. Kasey has very few rebellious bones in her body, but instead gets her kicks by snooping out answers to who exactly is living in her basement, why she's there, and how can she help her. In fact, Kasey's so responsible that the summer she turns thirteen, her parents decide she's old enough to start being more independent. While they do restrict her from watching television and playing video games (gasp!) during their absence, and require her to do a few daily chores for pay, they allow her to stay at home unsupervised until they arrive home from work. Then there's Kasey's friend, who is supposedly the "sneakier" of the two. Yet making arrangement for the two to get dropped off a theater, when in reality the two want to make a return visit to a store which contains info about Elizabeth Bellows, is the most dishonest thing Paula does. Yes, the characters are straight-laced, but I found this refreshingly pleasant.
Now here's where I tell you what I didn't like, because there are always a few of those with first-time authors. Some stuff is minor, such as odd places where the incorrect tense was used or details were skimped. When I started thinking about it how neatly the pieces of the mystery fit together, a few events sadly begin to feel like contrivances. For example, Kasey's Portuguese grandmother seems to show up at just the right time a little too often. My biggest issue, however, is with the first chapter. Ironically, I loved it--unfortunately it's meaningless. It deceptively sets readers up to believe that Dizzy Miss Lizzie is about a middle-school kid who lands in detention by saying an improper word at school. It's nothing of the sort and Clark shouldn't tease readers this way. The ending also suffers somewhat from being rushed.
Yet the complete package is what counts, not the little nicks and scratches one might find. Over all, Dizzy Miss Lizzie is an entertaining mystery in the vein of Nancy Drew. A great summer read!"
~  NebraskaIcebergs via Goodreads