Sunday, June 5, 2022

Wretched Waterpark (Sinister Summer Series #1)


Wretched Waterpark is the first book in a new middle grade series by Kiersten White. Due out 7th June 2022 from Penguin Random House on their Delacorte Press imprint, it's 256 pages and will be available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. The second book in the series is due out in Sept 2022. 

It's not derivative; the author is capable and talented, but to describe this first book as an episode of Scooby Doo written by Lemony Snicket feels appropriate and accurate. The three Sinister-Winterbottom siblings, the eldest is 16 and permanently looking at her smartphone, and fraternal brother and sister twins aged 12 are sent to spend the summer with their Aunt Saffronia and it soon becomes crystal clear that weeks of boredom isn't the worst that could happen. People are *disappearing* and it's left to the siblings to get to the bottom of the weirdness. 

This is a fun summertime mystery for middle grade readers. It's well written, edgy, but not inappropriate. The plotting struck me as a trifle meandering and the pacing was odd (clearly intentional on the author's part), and much of the page count is used on world and character building, but it's understandable to write a solid basis for the following book(s) in the series.

Four stars. This would be a good choice for public or school library acquisition, home use, or gifting to a young mystery fan. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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