Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

Scarlett UndercoverLittle, Brown Books for Young Readers, May 19, 2015.

Scarlett’s an orphan. Her father was murdered. Her mother died of cancer. Her sister’s caught up in medical school. But don’t waste time feeling sorry for her; Scarlett’s anything but pitiable. She’s smart – graduated high school at 16. She’s enterprising – started her own detective agency. She’s tough – a wise-ass and martial artist who carries an old police baton into dangerous neighborhoods. She’s a typical teen – not sure if she wants to practice her parent’s religion, distracted by a certain boy, determined to avoid anything that will curtail her freedom.

I love a mystery, and if it comes with a smart-ass detective, even better. Scarlett really won me over, as did the nod to hard-boiled detective stories of the past. Scarlett’s character is compelling. She’s tough but she’s compassionate. She wants to save the world and kiss a boy, but most of all: she wants to solve her father’s murder.

I love that Scarlett is Muslim. She and her sister each make their own decisions about faith and traditions. Will they pray every day? Will they pray 5 times every day? Will they wear a hajib? There’s more tradition than religion here, and though it felt reasonable to me, I don’t know if it’s a realistic portrayal of Muslim life. I hope it is. It certainly felt good to read story about a Muslim teen.

Scarlett Undercover involves the murder of Scarlett’s father and the suicide of a teen, so it may not be for all readers. I expect most readers who like a good detective/adventure story will like this book. There is a culty supernatural element thrown in that may not appeal some readers. I hope there will be more Scarlett books.

I read Scarlett Undercover as an electronic ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

One thought on “Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

  1. Pingback: Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham | Sarah Monsma

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