Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Book Review: No Place Like Holmes

No Place Like Holmes is the first book in a series for preteens based on the concept of Sherlock Holmes. American 12-year-old, Griffin Sharpe is sent to live with his uncle in England for the summer in order to experience the culture his mother grew up in. This uncle, an aspiring inventor and private investigator himself, just happens to live in the same building as Sherlock Holmes. The uncle believes investigations should be conducted scientifically and scoffs at the deductive reasoning of Sherlock Holmes. Griffin, however, notices everything, and shares the talents of the famous detective. Though the uncle is unhappy at first about Griffin’s arrival, he learns to appreciate Griffin’s observations as the two team up on a case in which London’s fate itself is at stake.

I’m a big Sherlock Holmes fan, so I really enjoyed this book and am happy to recommend it. However, I did wonder how much of the Sherlock Holmes comparison preteens would understand. How many 12-year-olds have heard of Moriarty and Watson and Baker Street and such? Not knowing of these things won’t keep them from enjoying Griffin’s story, but, without that background knowledge, kids will miss some fun elements of the story. Maybe they know more than I think they do. Or maybe, Griffin will inspire them to read Sherlock Holmes, too!

Also woven into the story are Griffin’s personal challenges. He is lonely because he is different—so intelligent that he scares friends away. He longs to befriend this uncle he’s met for the first time, but struggles not only with his uncle’s rejection of him, but also of God. No Place Like Holmes is the story of a 12-year-old learning to get along in the world, but not of it, independently, almost, for the first time.

Thank you, Thomas Nelson Publishers, for sending this fun book free to me for my honest review.

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