Monday, May 16, 2016

Book Review: Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

Title: Scarlett Undercover
Author: Jennifer Latham
Genre: YA Mystery
Release Date: May 19, 2015

Source: I recieved a digital copy from Netgalley (THANK YOU and sorry it took so long to get this up)
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Add to Goodreads

Goodreads summary:


Amber the Blonde Writer: Book Review of Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer LathamMeet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks -- and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father's murder.

Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.
 

My review:


I LOVED this story! From the old school film noir narrative to Scarlett's blend of Muslim and street kid, this book is one everyone should read.

It starts off in Scarlett's office, listening to Gemma Archer explain her brother's strange behavior and the recent suicide that may have actually been murder. Scarlett takes to the streets of Las Almas to figure out the truth along with the help of various friends: Delilah the diner owner with her son Decker, Scarlett's older sister Reem, and the friendly officer Emmet, among a dozen others.

The voice, like I said before, reminds me of the black and white detective movies. From the classic lines of, "She asked if I knew what I was doing. I said I did," to the beautifully constructed similes that occured on every other page, this narrative was on point to match the old school mysteries and private investigator stories we all tried to copy in thick, cigarette-mouthed accents. It was always flawless.

Coming from Scarlett, a Muslim American trying to fight her faith, her ethereal voice was grounded in reality. She's a young woman trying to figure out what she can do after the deaths of her parents, and if not for those around her, she may have traveled down a much darker and less forgiving road. She struggles in her beliefs, but she knows her loyalties and family. I fell in love with her and would be her Watson any day.

In addition to Scarlett, all the characters played crucial roles. Every person got a name, and I loved that even if someone was only in the story for three pages, they got a name because they were a person and deserved one. I can't express enough how I connected with so many of the minor characters because of this small detail.

The plot gets heavy really quick, and while I couldn't believe everything that was happening, I realized it didn't matter. Once I looked at the situation from a detective's sharp eye, I realized that so long as innocent lives were in danger, my belief needed to be suspended. In the end, I was nodding my head along with Scarlett, satisfied with everything that happened even if I was still a little confused.

Islam plays a large role in Scarlett's character, and I think she was portrayed well. I've known women who fought the hijab, and those same women continued on to be the ones who would never be seen without it. Scarlett's views of her religion matched mine at her age, where I didn't know what to believe or why I should. I connected with her because of that. 

Overall, this story was beautiful and a super fast read that I finished in about a day. I loved it. And I already have to stop myself from rereading it so I can move with my TBR pile.

Rating: 5 / 5 stars




Other posts you may like:
  • Book Review: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott (YA science fiction)
  • Waiting on Wednesday: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (YA retelling of Labyrinth)
  • Book Review: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (YA fantasy)

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