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Grade 5-8Ã¢ÂÂAnanka Fishbein, a seventh grader at an expensive New York City school, likens her life to flavourless mush. But when she wakes up one Saturday morning and finds that the small park across the street has become a sinkhole, her decision to explore it transforms her existence. She meets the mysterious Kiki Strike, and subsequently the group of girls (each with a particular talent) who call themselves the Irregulars, and they embark on an adventure that involves exploring the Shadow City, a series of tunnels under Manhattan. The identity of Kiki, along with the motives of the mysterious individuals the Irregulars suspect are planning to attack the city, are the mysteries at the heart of the story. Miller pulls readers in immediately and takes them on a series of twists and turns, culminating in a thrilling climax complete with international politics and intrigue. If a 12-year-old can be a hard-boiled detective, Ananka Fishbein is one. Her narration is fresh and funny, and the author's unadorned, economical, yet descriptive style carries her character through with verve. There are deft portrayals, with personalities artfully revealed through dialogue. The chapter endings are punctuated with selections from Ananka's guidebook on essential skills. Often placed so as to advance the story, they include How to take advantage of being a girl. Kiki Strike celebrates the courage and daring of seemingly ordinary girls, and it will thrill those who long for adventure and excitement while they impatiently await the next instalment.Ã¢ÂÂSue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
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KIRSTEN MILLER lives in New York City where she spends her time drinking coffee, exploring the city, and writing. Kiki Strike was her first novel and was a Today Show Al Roker Book Club Pick. www.kikistrike.com