Friday, November 30, 2012

Review: Mallory McDonald, Super Snoop by Laurie Friedman (ARC)

Mallory McDonald, Super Snoop. by Laurie Friedman. September 1, 2012. Capstone. 152 pages. ISBN: 9780761360735
 
Mallory’s brother, Max, has a girlfriend, and Mallory is convinced they are up to something whenever she’s not around. Deciding she absolutely must know what is going on, Mallory becomes a spy. Even after her babysitter instructs her to give her brother some privacy, Mallory just can’t help herself. It’s only after she takes things too far that Mallory realizes how wrong her behavior really is.

I have been a fan of the Mallory series since I discovered the books 3 or 4 years ago. I’ve always liked that the title heroine is a flawed character who makes a lot of mistakes, but who is also always willing to apologize. Mallory has changed in the last few books, however, and this story was almost too much for me. I was excited by the cover because I thought Mallory would be solving a real mystery, so I was disappointed right off the bat when I found out she was just spying on her brother. Honestly, I couldn’t believe that a ten-year-old would care this much about her brother’s relationship with his girlfriend. It’s not as though Max ever spent tons of time with Mallory in the previous books. Why the sudden interest? I found it equally unbelievable that Mallory couldn’t guess what a boyfriend and girlfriend might be doing together behind closed doors. I felt like the author was asking me to believe Mallory was naive about boy/girl relationships, which is hard to do when there have been at least two previous books dealing with Mallory’s own crushes. There is no way she couldn’t guess they might be kissing or holding hands or something.

I realize that Mallory is aging as the series goes on, and that her interests and concerns will change over time, but I think the changes reflected in this book actually turn Mallory into a totally different character. Mallory has always made mistakes. Maybe she’s even been a little bit selfish at times, but she has always had good intentions. This story doesn’t really show those good intentions or even give a sufficient motive for her annoying, rude, and hurtful actions. I’ve mentioned in the past that I don’t think this series needs to focus on dating to stay relevant - Mallory McDonald, Super Snoop has proven to me that this subject matter actually turns the series into something else entirely.

Mallory McDonald Super Snoop will interest fans of the series, but I’m not sure it will be their favorite addition. Personally, I hope that the next book (apparently entitled Mallory and Mary Anne Take New York) gets back to the heart of what this series has always been about - being a good friend, caring about others, and working to make things right when mistakes are made.

I received a digital ARC of Mallory McDonald, Super Snoop from Capstone via NetGalley.

For more about this book, visit Goodreads and Worldcat

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