Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy

I love that I have a job where not only do I recommend books to students, but students also recommend books to me!! Such was the case with The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy by Diane Stanley.

For one of our last Book Clubs of the year, we were in our class meeting, and various students were recommending books they would like others to read with them. That is the first time I had heard of this title. The student who had recommended it had found it on the "new book" shelf of our local public library. It has a copyright of 2008, but it was available on Amazon by Dec. 26, 2007. A group of five girls decided to read and discuss it together, and as I eavesdropped on some of their Book Club conversations, I was very intrigued by some of their discussions. I decided The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy needed to go on my pile of summer books to read.

I'm so glad I did! For one thing, I love the mystery genre, and this definitely falls into that category. I also love books where kids band together to stop something bad from continuing to happen, or happening at all. Again, this book does that! Finally, I like endings that resolve themselves happily, but realistically.

When I was looking at other reviews of this book, one reviewer likened it to the Stepford Wives, and that is a good analogy.

The plot in a snapshot:
- Siblings Franny (who narrates the story), Zoe (very bright), and J.D. (Zoe's twin brother) are admitted to the very selective Allbright Academy. Franny and J.D. get to go because Zoe's pre-admission tests were off the charts, so the Academy REALLY wants her, but she refuses to go to a boarding school without her brother and sister. So the Allbright Academy accepted Franny and J.D. as add-ons.
- On the campus of the Allbright Academy, all the students dress perfectly, have great hair, have great manners, always know the correct thing to say in any given situation, keep their rooms tidy and spotless, eat healthy foods all the time, and study very seriously.
- Brownies are a big culprit in the story (sad, because I love brownies), and they are served to all students daily
- Franny and a group of friends she has made at Allbright (Cal, Brooklyn, and Prescott) stumble onto the secret of the perfection of Allbright Academy students, and make plans to rectify the situation
- Franny's best friend from home, Beamer, gets involved. He puts to use his talent as a videographer.

What follows from that point is page-turning fun. The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy is a mystery I would like to make available to my students looking for mystery / adventure.

Franny and Beamer also appear in The Mysterious Matter of I.M. Fine. I'll be checking out this book by Diane Stanley soon -- I like her characters, and she sure knows how to have fun with titles!

For more reviews, check out:
book bits
Books for Kids Blog


  1. I really like this book too! I have been handing it to the kids who finished Trenton's books, or the ones who like Gilda Joyce!

  2. Nice mention over at Jen Robinson's!