The Underdogs

The Underdogs

Book - 2016
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In her debut mystery, The Underdogs , Sara Hammel delivers a middle grade novel packed with suspense, intrigue, and a breathtaking twist .

Who killed Annabel Harper?

When a popular teen beauty's body is discovered by the pool at an elite tennis club, the regulars are shocked--especially twelve-year-old Evie and her best friend, Chelsea. While everyone else is haunted by the teen's death, Evie and Chelsea jump on the case, dogging the footsteps of the lead detective as he investigates. As temperatures soar over the summer, tensions rise, fingers are pointed, and a heroic act sets in motion a chain of events readers will never see coming.

Praise for The Underdogs :

"The big reveal in this mystery is not who murdered golden girl Annabel Harper at an exclusive Massachusetts tennis club--though that's startling enough. No, there's actually a far bigger surprise. Once they get to the end, mystery lovers will want to go back and read it all again to find the hidden clues. " -- School Library Journal

"Told from Chelsea's perspective in chapters that alternate before and after Annabel's murder, debut novelist Hammel cleverly disguises Chelsea's true identity, leaving that mystery for readers to solve just as the girls pinpoint Annabel's killer." -- Publishers Weekly

"The mystery format and Harriet the Spy antics keep the story from being bogged down by the heavy issues addressed. . . . This is a book that takes a chance and will genuinely surprise readers. " -- Booklist

" Absorbing and enjoyable ." -- Kirkus Reviews

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, c2016
ISBN: 9781250115348
Branch Call Number: J FIC Hamme
Characteristics: 310 p.


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Sep 30, 2016


The ending is magnificent. And. Will. Blow. You. Away.

There is a murder that takes place at a local tennis/swimmers club. The main character Chelsea and her heavy set friend Evie do some snooping around to find who done it. I enjoyed the development of Evie who had to conquer her own negative feelings about her weight. She eventually excels at tennis and gets stronger. Her best friend Chelsea who's gone though some rough times herself, stands with Evie. The quiet, mute tells the story in a very interesting way. Going back and forth with the time lines to before and after the crime. The result is a unbiased and well done observatory narrative.

Jul 07, 2016

I found this hard to get into at first (maybe because I was constantly being interrupted). The second half captured my attention better and I was truly surprised by the ending. (Though it won't come as a surprise to those who have examined the book carefully.) While a younger tween may be able to read this, I feel there is some relationship inferences that make this a better fit for older teens. While there is nothing terribly graphic, there is some material that may bother a sensitive reader.

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Mar 08, 2019

WAI KIU LEE thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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