Thursday, March 10, 2011

Big Splash - Jack D. Ferraiolo

Big Splash by Jack D. Ferraiolo
This novel first came out in 2008. I thought the story was great. I simply couldn't sell customers on it no matter how hard I tired. I think Ferraiolo was ahead of the curve with this mystery noir type novel for middle schoolers. Or maybe it was the cover. I like the hardcover edition. Though what's important is what the customers like and I couldn't get them to bite on the HC cover. It was finally released this month in paperback. My original review.

I had a lot of fun reading this novel. Ferraiolo does a wonderful job . Its Dick Tracy meets Half Moon Investigations Eoin Colfer meets Codename KND.

Matt Stevens is a detective and in the seventh grade at Franklin Middle School. Matt's school is a war zone, the hallways are patrolled by Hall Monitors. Vinny Biggs is the big man on top. He controls the sugar supply, forgeries- report cards doctors notes, etc and gambling. Kids are packing water guns just waiting to put another kid in the Outs. A kid is put in the Outs when they are sprayed below the belt.

"The Outs- This club had a highly undesirable method of initiating new members humiliation. Vinny was marking the kids that he wanted taken out of the school social system, and the pee stain was the perfect symbol for this. Most kids knew the pee wasn't real, but it didn't matter. Kids laughed at the victims anyway."

Big Splash opens at the beginning of a new school year one of the most feared shooters Nikki Fingers has retired from Vinny's organization.

"Nikki Fingers was a dream girl the kind who caused nightmares. She was twelve but could have easily passed for fourteen. One glimpse of her bright red hair and luminous green eyes made you freeze like a package of fish sticks, and that was all the time she needed to shoot so much water on the front of your pants it looked like your bladder exploded."

Vinny hires Matt to get a hula figurine back from Nikki for him, and in the process Nikki is put in the Outs.

"I heard a quick two pump behind me. Before I could turn around, two giant bursts of water caught Nicole square on the front of her pants, right below the waist. The surprise and the force of the water jolted her backward , causing her head to slam into the locker doors. She slid to the ground butt first, legs splayed, eyes glazed over in shock."

Matt Stevens is on the case. Nikki Fingers put many kids in the Outs so there are alot of suspects. Big Splash was a joy to read. Matt Stevens is a likeable and smart detective- like any good detective he has his own mystery to solve. Ferraiolo has created a very believable world where the kids are front and center while the adults merely make appearances. Big Splash is a fun mystery noir. There are some great twist and turns at the end. Big Splash is a great book for mystery fans or fans of fun and silly books set at school.

Reading Rants review
The NERDS series by Michael Buckley is very popular at the store I work at. It's hard to find similar recommendations but Big Splash is perfect. Its also great for older fans of the Wimpy Kid series.

I like the paperback cover of Big Splash but more importantly the customers like it. So far everyone has been very receptive to it. The other day a boy came in with his father, looking for the new Big Nate novel, which isn't out yet. Since he was reading Big Nate, I assumed he already read the Wimpy Kid series. So I recommended three other titles,

Dark Life by Kat Falls - I know this is nothing like Big Nate but the customer also liked
Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells and yes I know this doesn't have much in common with Dark Life either. But Falls debut still felt like a good suggestion.

Much closer to Big Nate I also suggested NERDS and Big Splash. One thing I enjoy doing is standing back and watching a customer decide what book to go with. The boy went with Big Splash. I think the new cover made all the difference. The Jeff Kinney blurb on the front probably didn't hurt.

An excerpt of Big Splash


Unknown said...

It's always interesting to see what students (children) will actually pick.

I have yet to read ANY of these! I loved the HC of Big Splash so I bought it. Will now read over Spring Break!

Doret said...

Big Splash is money well spent. I can't wait to see what you think. Enjoy Spring Break.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Doret. :)