BOOK REVIEWS

The Girl from Felony Bay (Felony Bay Mysteries) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-06-17 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 20 user ratings
ISBN:0062104470
LANGUAGE:English

"Thirteen-year-old Abbey Force has lived on Reward Plantation near Charleston, S.C. all her life. In fact the Force family has owned and worked the plantation since the early 1700’s. Now everything has changed. Abbey’s father, a Charleston lawyer, is in a coma following a fall from a ladder. His reputation is in ruins because he has been accused of stealing jewels and gold from one of his elderly clients. The plantation has been sold to strangers and Abbey is forced to live with her abusive uncle. Now that school is over for the year Abbey plans to solve the mystery of the missing jewels and clear her father’s name. Abbey is beset by a plethora of problems including a greedy uncle, a menacing bully, an unscrupulous sheriff, and a baffling mystery. Fortunately, Abbey finds help and encouragement in her new neighbor Bee. Together the two girls attempt to avoid the villains and solve the mystery surrounding her father and the strange happenings at Felony Bay. I have a few issues with the book. I felt that the word “ya’ll” was overused and used incorrectly. The plot and abilities of the heroine seemed far-fetched at times. There was also quite a bit of violence. For example, Abbey punches the bully several times after he pushes her or bullies someone else. Abbey’s uncle and the bully’s father are both abusive. The villains try to feed Abbey and Bee to the alligators. All that being said, the book was fast-paced, absorbing, and exciting." said.

"The Girl from Felony Bay was a fantastic book, once I started reading I could not put the book down. We meet Abbey, the star of the show, on the bus on the way home from the last day of school trying to stop a bully Jimmy Simmons. Not exactly the ideal start to summer vacation, but nothing in Abbey’s life is. In fact, her summer plans are to prove her dad, a top notch lawyer accused of a crime, innocent. But how can she do this when he has been in a coma for the past nine months and the lady whose jewels were stolen still hasn’t recovered from her stroke? The only words she mutters are “stole it” with an accusing glare. To make matters worse, her childhood home, Reward Plantation, and everything her family owned had to be sold to redeem her father. Now she has to live with her mean and nasty Uncle Charlie who seems to be doing everything within his power to stop Abbey, even if it means feeding her to the alligators. Thankfully Abbey has found a loyal friend in the new owners of Reward that plans to stick to Abbey’s side because she too experienced tragedy and loss in her life.
This book is rich in life lessons and totally relatable to many children in one way or another. Both Abbey and Bee lost a parent and the other one isn’t present in their lives, but their strong friendship helps them live life again. This book shows children that they are not alone in their struggles and for those that can’t relate it shows an experience beyond their own and helps them to develop empathy.
" said.

"Loved it. There was so much to enjoy in this book. I really liked Abbey Force, she is beyond spunky. Maybe a better word would be fearless? Tough? From my thesaurus choices, I think I'll go with fiery. She's not afraid to get into tough situations and knows herself well enough to realize when she can get herself out and when she can't. Although even that doesn't stop her. She believes so much in herself and her Daddy that is the basis for her determination.

Bee has enough force (pun intended) of her own to match Abbey and that's what drives their friendship. They both have been through so much but they don't force (no pun intended) each other to dwell on it, but rather what they can do about it.

Thompson deals with some heavy issues here, but not in a heavy-handed way--the abuse, the history and current repercussions of slavery, and one's own moral compass in spite of the status quo. These are not the point of the story, but rather these help to shape the characters in the story.

Finally, and possibly my favorite, was the setting. It was far more than a setting as it borders on being a character of it's own with it's own influences on the characters and the plot. Thompson's descriptions made me fall in love with an area that I've never seen and the people who live there. It's embraced by the author and therefore the characters in a way that I don't see often in middle grade books. It's where these characters call home and it's treated as such.

Recommended. Ages 10+.
" said.

"A year ago, Abbey Force’s father had an accident that left him in a coma and subsequently framed for a terrible crime he didn’t commit. Having to sell their home to pay off her father’s debt to society, Abbey is forced to live with her sometimes-sober uncle Charlie. When a new family moves into Reward Plantation, their daughter Bee who is the same age as Abbey, begins to question the abundance of “No Trespassing” signs and all the dug-out mysterious holes near where Abbey’s house used to be. Abbey realizes that these peculiar happenings may be the doing of the person who framed her dad. J.E. Thompson’s The Girl from Felony Bay follows a thrilling adventure as Abbey is determined to clear her father’s name by finding out what’s really going on out on Felony Bay.

This fabulous mystery adventure has that natural charisma that will instantly hook readers from the start. The newly formed friendship between Abbey and Bee is simply amazing. They simply had an extraordinary connection and their courageous hearts combined helped to reveal some of Felony Bay’s secrets. Abbey has much determination and it becomes quite clear to readers on what she wants and her willingness to get it.

Author J.E. has created a world of mystery and an epic adventure that is rare and precious. The summer South Carolina setting presented the perfect atmosphere to provide a wonderful history lesson. The mystery that needs to be solved is one of the driving forces that will maintain readers’ intrigue levels at peak points. The writing style gave the characters great dialogue that moves the story closer to solving the puzzle. The interaction between Abbey and Bee is simply appealing and it’s a friendship that is purely desired. Filled with action from start to finish, The Girl from Felony Bay is a magnificent story of adventure and marvelous mystery.
" said.

"Abbey Force used to have a wonderful life on Reward plantation, but all of that changed when her father fell into a coma. Not only isn't her father around to care for her, but he has been all but convicted of stealing valuable jewelry, and his home has been sold to pay the damages incurred by his law firm in the aftermath of his being accused. The new owners are Bee Force's family. Bee is no blood relation, but generations ago, her relatives were slaves of Abbey's relatives, causing them to share the same last name. When Abbey makes friends with Bee, she learns that a portion of Reward known as Felony Bay has not been sold to the Forces, but to some other party whose identity is being suspiciously concealed. She suspects that the abusive uncle with whom she lives is somehow behind this strange turn of events, but she and Bee will have to struggle to prove it.

This middle grade mystery has a terrific sense of place. It is so easy to picture Reward plantation, and Felony Bay, thanks to the author's specific details about plants, wildlife, buildings, and atmosphere. There are a lot of characters, some of whom are better-developed and more memorable than others, but Abbey has enough personality for all of them. It is her fierce determination, her devotion to her dad, and her smart-mouthed, quick-witted voice that drive the story.

The early parts of the book where Abbey is meeting with lawyers and gathering information move very slowly, and some readers might find them so boring that they will quit reading before the excitement really kicks in. While it would be hard to blame them (the legal details get very tedious), it would be a shame for them to miss out on the second half of the book, which involves late-night spying and eavesdropping, running from danger, narrowly escaping death, and ultimately finding justice. Readers also won't want to miss finding out about Bee's sad secret past, or whether Abbey's father comes out of his coma by story's end.
" said.

"Abbey Force has had a tough year. Her mother has died of cancer years ago, and her father is currently in a coma after falling from a ladder in what looks like an attempt to hide stolen goods. Because he can't defend himself, he is considered guilty in the theft of Miss Jenkin's treasures, and his law firm has to cover the costs. Abbey's home, Reward Plantation, has to be sold, and she has to live with her drunk and marginally abusive Uncle Charlie. When visiting her old home, she runs into Bee Force, whose African American family was at one time enslaved by Abbey's family, and whose mother is dead. She is being raised by her fiesty Grandma Em while her father is starting up a business in India. Abbey begins to suspect that part of the plantation, the Felony Bay section, belonged to her friend Scoogie's family, having been given to them at the end of the Civil War in an informal arrangement. Her father appears to be trying to deed the land over to them, but her Uncle Charlie has gotten his hands on it and is using it for nefarious purposes. The more Abbey and Bee investigate, the more alarming things they find out, and the more endangered they become. Will Abbey be able to find out what really happened with her father?
Strengths: I had various copies of this in my possession, and could never bring myself to read them because of the very depressing and quirky/Southern beginning. Since this was nominated for the Cybils by none other than Jen Robinson, when I got a copy at a book look, I knew I had to power through it. I'm glad I did. The mystery is believable, as is the actual physical danger the girls find themselves in, and the mystery winds up neatly without everything being tied in a perfect bow. The friendship with the girls is great, and the characters all are well portrayed and interesting. This reminds me of books I read as a child, but I can't put my finger on just which ones.

Weaknesses: Bad cover, somehow. Did not appeal to me at all, and as I said, reading the first chapter put me off as well. Still, knowing this will help me to recommend it to readers, even though it might take a bit of hand selling. This should have started off with the girls in grave danger and flashed back, even though I normally don't like that device.
" said.

"Life once was very good for young Abby Force. She and her father lived in a beautiful old house that had belonged to the family for generations, back to before the War Between the States. She had the whole of Reward Plantation to roam and horses and a private school in nearby Charlotte. She loved them all.


But everything changed a year ago. Abby’s father, once a respected attorney, lies in a coma, accused of stealing from an elderly client. The client is herself the victim of a stroke and cannot speak well. Their house has been sold and Abby is forced to live with her aunt and uncle. Uncle Charlie is nothing like Abby’s father, his brother. He drinks, punishes Abby, puts her down and pretty much treats her like Cinderella.


On the last day of school, after a miserable year without her friends, Abby has had enough. When the bully goes after her and a smaller, younger boy, Abby fights back. She’s had enough of Uncle Charlie, too, and is determined to find out why her father was found at the bottom of a ladder in his study with his client’s jewelry.


Abby has felt alone, but reinforcements have arrived. The new owner of Reward Plantation also is a Force, but from the former slave side of the family. He’s with one of his companies in India, but his daughter, Bee, who is Abby’s age, and Bee’s grandmother have arrived. After the discovery that part of the plantation on Felony Bay itself has been sold, and holes are being dug on the beach, Abby and Bee go into action.


They go through public records, the law, neighbors’ memories and spying on suspicious activities before putting all the pieces together. Both their investigating and episodes of danger are believable and entertaining. They also are informative in a non-lecturing way as to the limits and strengths of various types of law. They weave in historical and contemporary issues, as well as treasure.


Abby and Bee are smart, intrepid young teens who face their fears, overcome family tragedies and have fun. Even the secondary characters have more than one-dimensional stories. The bully, for instance, is the hit by his father, a deputy who is awfully friendly with Uncle Charlie. Bee’s grandmother and the people Abby seeks out at her father’s law firm play their roles without taking over from the girls.

Highly recommended for grades 5-8
" said.

"Before that fateful day when she found her beloved father unconscious on the floor surrounded by stolen jewels, Abbey Force lived happily with her lawyer father on Reward Plantation. Life was good on Leadenwah Island, South Carolina. She went to Miss Walker’s School for Girls in Charleston and spent countless hours riding her pony and exploring her family’s land. Now, 9 months after that horrible day, Abbey’s father is still in a coma at the hospital and the plantation has been sold to repay the victim of the robbery that her father is being accused of committing. Summer vacation has just started and Abbey is living with her abusive Uncle Charlie and Ruth in their house close to Reward. Abbey has resigned herself to a summer of chores and avoiding her relatives, but all that changes when she meets the daughter of the new owner of the plantation. While Abbey is showing Bee around Reward the two girls unexpectedly stumble upon suspicious activities at hidden Felony Bay. Why are holes being dug on the beach at the bay? Does it have anything to do with the old stories about buried Civil War treasure? Why does Abbey have a hunch this new development has something to do with her father’s situation? Most importantly, how can Abbey clear her father's name and will he ever wake up from his coma? Unaware of looming danger, Abbey and Bee set out to answer these questions and more in this thrilling adventure.

Readers looking for a thrilling adventure set in the real world will find this a satisfying read. Thompson’s story is a cross between a friendship story and a mystery, with just the right amount of lawyer-speak for young readers. The plot is intriguing, with just enough red herrings to keep readers on their toes, but not so many that the plot is muddy. A spunky protagonist, Abbey is very loyal and caring. She sticks up for her friends and family and she uses her intelligence and quick thinking to escape many a dangerous situation. The physical and verbal abuse demonstrated by Deputy Simmons, Uncle Charlie, and Ruth is portrayed in a straight forward and realistic manner, however these characters are the “bad guys” and Thompson makes sure they get what they deserve. Thompson addresses race relations in a legal, as well as moral sense through Abbey’s friendship with Bee, as well as Mrs. Middleton the elderly descent of a former slave of the Force family. Additionally, the meaning of doing the right thing in a moral versus a legal sense is a common thread throughout the story. A helpful map of the plantation is included at the beginning of the book.

Full review at Chapter Book Explorer: http://chapterbookexplorer.blogspot.c...
" said.

August 2017 New Book:

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