Book review: The Underdogs, by Sara Hammel

Hammel, Sara. The Underdogs. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2016. $16.99. ISBN 9780374301613. 310 pgs. Ages 12-16. P8Q7

hammel-underdogsThrough much of this book, the reader thinks the big mystery is who killed beautiful teen Annabel Harper at the tennis club. The story is narrated by Chelsea, whose mom works the front desk. Other characters are awkward Evie, her hippie tennis pro father, and an assortment of attractive, elite teen tennis players. We go back and forth between the time before the murder and the investigation after, with Chelsea watching everything and everyone. The murder mystery was interesting enough to keep my attention, but the end is a big and wonderful surprise! I had to go back through the book looking for hints about what I had missed all along. VERDICT: The language is simple enough to appeal to lower level readers, and the content will please most teens.

January 2017 review by Carol Schramm.

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