The Girl from Felony Bay (Felony Bay Mysteries) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-02-19 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 20 user ratings

"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.

"J.E. Thompson's The Girl From Felony Bay is a wonderful middle-grade debut that is chock full of mystery, adventure, and southern charm.

The Girl From Felony Bay tells the story of one summer that changes the lives of two twelve year old girls forever. Abbey Force has had a lousy year: her father is in a coma and has been accused of a terrible crime, Abbey has had to move in with her mean aunt and uncle, leaving her beloved school behind, and the Force family home has had to be sold. Bee Force (no real relation) has just moved into Abbey's hold home, and carries both physical and emotional scars. The two girls become fast friends, and when Felony Bay, a secluded area of land on the Force property, is suddenly closed off and mysterious digging takes place on the land, Abbey and Bee set out to solve the mystery, but find themselves face to face with criminals, betrayal, and a hungry alligator!

Thompson has crafted a well-written middle-grade contemporary full of a lot of fun, wit, and heart. The Girl From Felony Bay offers up two delightful young heroines, a rich and charming setting, and a heart-felt story about family, friendship, and love.

I really enjoyed embarking on this fast-paced and exciting mystery-adventure with Abbey and Bee! Thompson writes with that captivating sparkle and shine, that is equal parts clever, funny, and relatable, and is so important in middle-grade fiction. Young readers will easily be swept into the thrilling adventure-mystery that Abbey and Bee stumble upon, and like the two heroines, readers will love feeling like detectives, searching for and solving clues. The mystery storyline is unpredictable enough to keep readers enthralled, but simple enough for even younger readers to follow. But the story isn't all adventure and mystery solving...Thompson explores some very relatable and poignant issues (such as grief, racism, and abuse) as well, and does so in age-appropriate ways.

The Girl From Felony Bay is set in a semi-fictional part of a very real Charleston, SC. This is a city that I know very well and love, and Thompson has done it absolute justice! Richly and vividly detailed, this southern city comes alive within the pages, and is dripping with charm and quaintness that the author captures so well. Charleston feels like another integral and fully realized character that readers will be eager to meet (if you've never visited this city, you really should. It's an awesome place!).

The two unrelated Force girls make for two very different, but equally lovable, heroines. I love Abbey's determination and intelligence, and Bee's fearlessness and loyalty. These are two heroines that readers will want to root for and be best friends with. And the friendship and genuine sisterly love that blossoms between them is so beautiful and heartwarming.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: The Girl From Felony Bay was a complete joy to read! I adored the two young heroines, was enthralled and entertained by the mystery-adventure story, and dazzled by the well-developed setting.
" said.

" A satisfying mystery with high stakes but nothing too scary. " said.

" My 4th grade son was reading this book in class. I picked it up one day and was hooked! We have enjoyed discussing the book these past weeks, & he loved that he already knew the ending when I didn’t!" said.

May 2018 New Book:

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