Kelsey the Spy (Curious Cat Spy Club)
by Linda Joy Singleton
Review by Gayle Surrette
Albert Whitman & Company Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780807513804
Date: 01 April 2016 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Kelsey Case just can't seem to stop herself from learning secrets, but she has learned to not tell them. She writes the secrets down in a notebook that she hides in a secret compartment so no one can read them. She also loves animals and, with her friends, Becca and Leo, they investigate and find missing pets as the members of the Curious Cat Spy Club (CCSC for short).
Things begin to unravel when her notebook of secrets is stolen and one of those secrets ends up in a public forum. Then Leo wants to add a person to the club that Kelsey doesn't trust. Becca is involved with a group that needs Kelsey's help, but doesn't want her hanging around with them.
While, as an adult, I found some of these young people's decisions to be rash and potentially dangerous, these same decisions are pretty much what can be expected of a person without the years of experience in making rash decisions that most adults have. Kelsey, Leo, and Becca, and the other characters act their age. They have the benefit of being characters in a book so they also suffer the consequences of their actions and help the target audience to see what could happen if situation A is handled in this way. Learning without having to go though it yourself is better than learning the hard way.
Like Harriet the Spy, Kelsey learns that keeping secrets is more than just hiding them because they can be found, you also have to know when to tell and when not. The added bonus is the CCSC also helps find lost pets and funds their own pet needs with the reward money. They help the local human society at their events and are learning.
But, more import than the message of the story, either shown or implied, Kelsey the Spy is a fun story that keeps you reading to find out what happens next. It's got angst, danger, humor, and it feels real.