cover image The Peacock Detectives

The Peacock Detectives

Carly Nugent. HarperCollins, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-289670-4

“Eleven-turning-twelve years old” Cassie narrates this story, set in small-town Australia. Her father, an English teacher who always wanted to be a writer, teaches Cassie many writing tips (“be good at details,” include an “Inciting Incident”) that she shares in the text. He also named the observant girl a “Peacock Detective” when noting details helped her to track down the neighbor’s escaped peacocks, William Shakespeare and Virginia. Cassie plans for her story to be about the latest peacock escape, but then her dad begins having more “Those Days”—depressive episodes—something Cassie understands because she sometimes has them, too. Though Cassie tries to avoid seeing the problems facing her family, she employs her observational prowess when her mother moves out, mean girl Rhea keeps telling Cassie her dad is “crazy,” and a secret about her beloved grandfather is revealed. This quietly powerful journey deals honestly with the impact of depression and such social issues as gun violence in the U.S. Debut author Nugent sensitively portrays Cassie’s struggles with family and friends as she grows to see that true bonds can be both hard won and well worth the effort. Ages 8–12. [em](Jan.) [/em]