Sunday, September 9, 2012

Vanishing Acts by Leslie Margolis

From the Publisher:
When a movie starring tween heartthrob Seth Ryan starts filming in Park Slope, everyone gets movie mania-including Maggie Brooklyn Sinclair. Though her plans to become a movie extra don't quite work out, Maggie manages to capture Seth's attention and he seeks her out at the Pizza Den to talk. But just when Maggie's life is feeling like a romantic comedy, Seth disappears! Everyone thinks he's been kidnapped, but Maggie knows better. . . .
This young Nancy Drew is back, along with her twin brother and dog-walking business, in a second mystery that shines a spotlight on her super-sleuth skills. Leslie Margolis's pitch-perfect tween voice will leave fans begging for more of this lovable heroine.

My Thoughts:
Vanishing Acts is the second Maggie Brooklyn mystery in a series and I have to confess I didn't read the first volume.  But that's OK.  Like all series books, this was a pretty good stand alone story and references from the first book were easily understandable.Seventh-grader Maggie Brooklyn live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY.  Having earned a reputation as an amateur sleuth in the neighborhood, one chilly October morning Maggie is confronted with another mystery.  Some has been throwing eggs at the dogs being walked in Prospect Park and now Maggie's former best friend Charlotte demands that she solve this mystery, too.  And that is just the beginning.

Oh, wait, egged dogs aren't the beginning.  The beginning is when a life-sized man-shaped balloon, dress in a black suit and tie, hits Maggie on her way to school in the morning.  Before she knows what's hit her (and the dogs), Maggie find herself with three mysteries to solve - balloon man, egged dogs and the disappearance of Seth Ryan, teen heartthrob, who just happens to be making a movie in Prospect Park.

Of course, the mysteries aren't terribly difficult to solve.  Maggie is more of a junior league Nancy Drew, but there is lots of other action apart from the mysteries. There is Maggie's twin brother, Finn, her friend Lucy, who seem to be much friendlier with each other lately.  And there's Milo Sanschez, a boy with a big crush on Maggie.  But will Maggie notice of what is going on right up her eyes or is she too wrapped up in her cases.

Vanishing Acts is a fast, fun story about a smart, sassy girl who life is good, but far from perfect.  In fact, at times it feels like a situation comedy, but that's fine.  This isn't meant to be a terribly serious book.  As an adolescent character, Maggie is funny, clever, resourceful, responsible, but not overly so, and she's also a bit of an entrepreneur with her dog walking business as a way to earn some extra money.  Brooklyn is my hometown (I'm from Flatbush, not Park Slope) and one of the things I really liked was how Margolis captured that diversity that is so very Brooklyn.  In fact, I think this is a perfect middle grade book, ideal for some light reading whenever time allows in the busy lives of middle schoolers.   

Maggie Brooklyn has her own website where you can learn more about Maggie and her world (be sure to check out the map that shows all the important places in her life.)

Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday is a weekly event hosted by Shannon Messenger.  Thanks, Shannon!


  1. Sounds like a fun read! I love mysteries, so I'll definitely check this one out. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Michelle, Yes, this is a fun book and the series is quite nice. Hope you are able to find and enjoy it.

  3. Thanks for pointing out this series. I am working on a manuscript which I hope will be part of a (lower) MG series and I love finding other "light reading" series! And it is cool there is a website attached to this main character... off to check it out!

  4. This sounds like a great books. I love a good mystery and this series seems like one I will really get into. I am glad you were able to read the second book in the series without reading the first!

  5. Takes me a while to get around, so many great book review sites out there. I recognize the artist. Thanks for spotlighting it.

  6. Sounds like a lot of fun: a man-balloon, an egged dog and a missing heartthrob. I would've picked this right up back when I was a tween. I'll most likely pass it on to one of my students now.


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