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Minerva Clark Gets a Clue

Review

Minerva Clark Gets a Clue

Minerva Clark, formerly a typical 13-year-old girl, has a jolting experience that changes her forever. She transforms from a highly self-conscious girl to one who is almost "unself-conscious."

We meet Minerva on the worst day of her life. First, her older brother Quills, a 22-year-old musician/Kinko's employee/college student, drags her to the mall arcade, Tilt, to hang out with his creepy friend and band mate, Toc. Even though Minerva would rather stay at home and play with her pet ferret, Jupiter, and write rebuses in her notebook, she is afraid of what would happen if people found out what she really thought. She thinks: "Anyway, if word got out that I secretly thought Tilt was stupid and boring, then people would say Double Freak Show Loser doesn't even begin to describe Minerva Clark, because how could I be bulimic and still have fat legs?"

Minerva's friend Reggie joins them at Tilt and talks Minerva into playing Dance Dance Revolution. Bad idea. Minerva winds up embarrassing herself in front of the mean girls from school, Julia and the two Chelseas. She flees the mall and ends up getting a ride home with her favorite cousin, Jordan Parrish. Jordan is both a Rose Festival Princess and a soon-to-be recipient of the Hightower Scholarship that is awarded to "a Fine Young Woman who got straight A's and excelled in a sport." So Minerva knows something fishy is going on when Jordan gets pulled over by the cops, and then arrested.

Minerva is forced to call her youngest brother Morgan --- a 20-year-old philosophy student, "Junk Food Vegetarian" and Buddhist --- for a ride home after her cousin is hauled off to the police station. Morgan takes Minerva home and we meet the third (and oldest) Clark brother, Mark, who is often the BIC (Brother in Charge). Minerva's father is away on business and her mother had moved to the other side of the country after the divorce. So when nerdy Mark Clark asks Minerva, who is already in trouble for running off at Tilt, to help him with a project, she has no choice but to say yes. Little does Minerva know that this project will change her forever.

Mark Clark makes fractals --- computer-generated images created from brainwaves --- and that night, Minerva is his guinea pig. So on the worst day of Minerva Clark's life, she has an accident. She gets electrocuted. And this is just the beginning! Minerva takes it upon herself to solve two crimes: a murder involving the town bookstore clerk and the unjust arrest of her cousin Jordan. Minerva's electrocution zaps her with a new personality and a double dose of self-confidence that makes her an excellent detective.

Although its premise is somewhat unbelievable, what make this book spark are its wonderful characters. The voice of Minerva is humorous, engaging and entertaining. The supporting characters of the Clark brothers, Jordan Parrish and Reggie are also lively, unique and truly colorful. MINERVA CLARK GETS A CLUE, Karen Karbo's first book for young readers, is a fun-filled novel that combines sibling relationships and teenage self-consciousness with mystery and adventure.

Reviewed by Kristi Olson on September 14, 2005

Minerva Clark Gets a Clue
by Karen Karbo

  • Publication Date: September 14, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
  • ISBN-10: 1582346771
  • ISBN-13: 9781582346779