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The past year has been hard for Abbey Force and her father. Her father was framed for a crime he didn't commit after he had an accident and ended up in a coma. To pay off debts, their home, Reward Plantation, was sold off and now Abbey has to live with her Uncle Charlie and Aunt Ruth. To say the least, both are despicably poor parental figures. The new family that's moved into Reward has a daughter named Bee right around Abbey's age, and she is just as curious about the no trespassing signs and holes down by Felony Bay, an area that should be part of the plantation, as Abbey is. It appears that someone has been investigating a mystery that goes all the way back to the Civil War, and it looks like it might be the same person that framed Abbey's dad.
The Girl from Felony Bay by J. E. Thompson was a very lucky find at a local thrift shop. I hadn't heard of it before, but the summary was intriguing, it was in perfect condition, and signed by the author. It's a fantastic middle-grade mystery novel and I think more people should give it a chance. The mystery is compelling and well-paced, and I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen. I guessed it before the end, but it was great fun seeing it all play out.
The characters and dialog here are really the big selling points for me, Abbey especially. She's smart, curious, and tough - a truly admirable heroine. She also has a great friendship with her new neighbor, Bee. The Raleigh, North Carolina setting also feels incredibly real with lots of local color and history presented in the novel. By the way, the cover art is by Brett Helquist, the illustrator behind Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.
I can't wait to read the next Felony Bay mystery, Disappearance at Hangman's Bluff! If you like Nancy Drew, you will love Abbey Force in The Girl From Felony Bay!
I read this from January 28 - 29, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.