Sunday, July 2, 2017

Scarlet and Ivy, Book One - The Lost Twin

"This is the story of how I became my twin sister."

With a tagline like that, how could you pass up a mystery like this? Sophie Cleverly has written a superbly plotted mystery with fun, believable characters, a dastardly villain, and intriguing clues that lead not only Ivy, but readers on a twisted chase through the halls of Rookwood boarding school as Ivy Gray searches for answers as to what really happened to her twin sister, Scarlet. The Lost Twin has everything a good mystery should have, and it really doesn't matter your age, I can pretty much guarantee that you'll enjoy it.

Shy, young Ivy Gray has been living with her slightly off-balanced aunt ever since her parents shipped her twin sister, Scarlet, off to boarding school. Ivy missed her sister, but never so much as when she receives the news that her sister has died from an illness.  Ivy is heartbroken - until the headmistress from the school arrives and announces that Ivy is coming to Rookwood to take her sister's place.  Ivy doesn't want to go to the school where her sister died, but it seems she has no choice.  Upon arriving at Rookwood, however, Ivy is shocked to discover that Miss Fox, the headmistress, meant exactly what she said.

Ivy would be taking Scarlet's place.  She would BE Scarlet!

Such a premise clearly sets the stage for the real mystery of what happened to Scarlet and why is the headmistress of the school intent on making sure no one ever finds out that Scarlet is gone. Of course, Ivy isn't going to just be facing the villainy of Miss Fox, she also has to deal with mean girls Penny and Nadia, as well as the stress of pretending to be the outgoing, trouble-making twin who was the exact opposite of her! Help arrives, though, in the form of a diary. Scarlet's diary, to be exact. Ivy finds pages of her sister's diary hidden throughout the school, and each page tells bits and pieces of a story, as well as provides cryptic clues as to where the next piece of the puzzle can be found. Slowly, but surely, and with the help of her new roommate and friend, Ariadne, Ivy begins to uncover the truth behind her sister's death. Only, the closer she gets to the truth, the more she begins to doubt her sister is dead. But, if she isn't dead, then where is she?

The book may be just under 300 pages in length, but it reads so easily, and it is so engaging, that I managed to finish it in just a couple of days.  I had to know what really happened to Scarlet, and I loved watching both Ivy and Ariadne become stronger and braver in their words and deeds while trying to decipher the clues and face off against the villain.  And face-off they do!  Let me say, Cleverly wrote the perfect confrontation scene, and the big surprise that is revealed during that scene was definitely not expected at all.

I did not read the preview of the second book, The Whisper in the Walls, as I did not want to do anything to spoil the pleasure of reading it (which I will get to before too long, because I can't wait to see what happens next!).

RATING:  10 midnight feats of pear drops and fudge out of 10 for keeping the young adult mystery genre alive and thriving!

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