Please check out my latest interview from Mystery and Thriller Week to learn new Skylar Robbins fun facts!
- Character Name: Skylar Robbins
- Role in your story: protagonist
- Age: 13
- Description: Funny, quirky, vulnerable teen sleuth
- Nickname: Teen Detective Skylar
- Occupation: amateur sleuth
- Location: Santa Monica, CA
- Goal in life: to become a private detective like my grandfather and to open my own detective agency
- Motto: Never give up!
- Family: Only child of intelligent mom (teacher at UCLA) and dad (scientist/chemist)
- Best friend: BFF Alexa O’Reilly: dyslexic, intelligent assistant detective
- Current conflict: taking dangerous chances while trying to solve my next mystery
- Favorite Food: Peanut butter on Graham crackers, and sushi (not at the same time!)
- Addictions: hunting for clues
- Pet Peeve: bullies and liars
- Favorite Hobby: decoding secret messages
- What do you do for fun? Explore new neighborhoods on my bike with my BFF, Alexa.
Favorite childhood memory:
My grandfather’s face popped into my mind, and within seconds I was longing to see him again. Grandpa had taught me all sorts of important skills for finding clues, investigating mysteries, and solving cases. I remembered how he taught me to lift fingerprints like it was yesterday:
Grandpa treated me to a blue-eyed smile. Then he winked at me and held out his hand with a Kleenex covering his palm. “Let’s see that juice box.” I put the box of Juicy-Juice I’d just finished on the tissue. He moved it onto the table in front of him, careful not to touch the surfaces of the box with his fingers. “This is fingerprinting powder,” he explained, holding up what looked like a jar of dark ash. “Watch,” my grandfather said, sprinkling some of the powder onto the side of the juice box. Then he took a big soft brush and whisked most of the powder onto a napkin.
I leaned closer. A crisp, gray copy of my fingerprint stuck to the side of the waxy box like a decal on the back of my bike.
“Now we lift the print.” Grandpa removed a clear, sticky piece of tape from a roll. He pressed it down on top of my fingerprint, and then very slowly peeled the tape off of the box. “See?” he said, showing it to me. My fingerprint made a perfect picture on the clear tape. “Now let’s mount this on a Case Solution card.” He took a card off the stack he had in his detective kit, and pressed the tape down onto the card, trapping my print. I watched him fill in the case line. Since there was no case number he just wrote, SKYLAR ROBBINS’S FINGERPRINT.
Grandpa handed me the card. “It’s yours to keep. Next weekend we’ll print someone else and I’ll teach you how to compare fingerprints to see if you can find a match.”
“OK,” I said, wrapping my arms around his neck. “Let’s print Mom.”
“Let’s,” he agreed, his eyes full of fun.
- Dream job: Secret Agent
- Favorite part of your day: Getting to school before first period, hoping a cute boy will sit next to me in class.
- Pessimist, Optimist, or Realist: Optimist
- Beverage of choice: iced tea
- Most annoying person in your life: Pat Whitehead, school bully
- Taken or single? Single. Any love interests? Dustin Coles and Daniel Gannon
- Pets: none right now…
- Biggest Fear: failing to solve a mystery
- Guilty Pleasure: Telling secrets in sign language with Alexa
- Most embarrassing moment: Squirting Ketchup on my pink pants and smearing it into a big stain before going to class with Daniel.
- Greatest Strength: Using the tools in my detective kit to find clues and solve mysteries
- Greatest Weakness: I feel bad when I take dangerous chances and hide it from my parents.
- Who do you most admire? My grandfather: a retired police officer.
- Are you keeping any secrets? I take my Porta-detective kit to school in my backpack in case I need to dust for fingerprints or examine something using my Mini-Mag glass.
- Where do you see yourself in ten years? As a secret agent, traveling the world on top secret missions.
- Advice for the reader as they follow you through your journey? Learn to solve riddles and decipher clues using my detective skills. Crime scenes are three-dimensional: look for clues on the floor, all for walls, and the ceiling. Palm a compact to spy on people behind you. Learn sign language and Morse code so you can communicate without talking or when solving a mystery underwater.
4 stars out of 5
Of course, I am not part of the intended audience for this book, so my view might be a bit skewed by my age. Despite my age band, I was able to read it, and that in itself says something, considering the fact that I’m – unfortunately – a very picky reader and I get bored easily.
That being said, I definitely recommend this book to teenagers. The tone of the narrative is light enough to encourage them to continue reading and the plot is interesting enough for a twelve or thirteen-year old. It really made me remember some of the books I read when I was that age.
The protagonist is Skylar Robbins who wants nothing else in life but to be a Private Investigator like her late grandpa. The writer did a good job in presenting this young girl. It is believable and well anchored in the reality of the respective age. She has all the confidence and doubts characteristic to someone of her age and a young reader could identify themselves with her. The character is well developed and I think that the narrative in first person might have contributed seriously to that.
I always try to avoid writing a synopsis of the books I review and I will do the same here. Keeping in mind that the novel is for a young audience, I would say that the author succeeded in her task. Either she remembers how it felt and how one thought at that age or she is a good psychologist. Anyway, she did an amazing job in her incursion in the young psyche.
One thing might detract from the quality of the book (again, I repeat, I am trying to see the book through the eyes of a young reader): too detailed descriptions. I, for one, liked them, however, a young reader might not have the patience to read them.
On the whole, this is a good book for the intended audience. I would recommend it.
The Mystery of Hidden Jewels (The Skylar Robbins Mysteries) by Carrie Cross
5 stars out of 5
This novel is a real surprise. Authors evolve in time. Their writing gets better and better – if the writer is good to begin with, of course. However, it is surprising to see so much development in a second book. The fluidity of the story mesmerizes and simply catches you in: you can’t put the book down. I read it in one sitting.
The main character was developed in the first book, but here there’s much more substance. The author surprises the teenager’s evolution and if the first book Skylar was just a curious girl, tattering on the brink of evolution, now she becomes really interesting: there are some doubts but not so definite. She has the courage to stand for her convictions and thus the story becomes catchier.
I recommended the first book – mostly to children between 10 and 13. This one goes beyond that age band. If someone likes a good mystery, a fluid plot, catchy dialogue, then, they should read this book.