Friday 14 July 2023

The Breakfast Club Adventures – The Ghoul in the School

The Breakfast Club Adventures – The Ghoul in the School by Marcus Rashford and Alex Falase-Koya (Pan Macmillan), RRP $16.99 Middle Grade ISBN 9-781529-076660

Reviewed by Susan Hancy

There’s a ghoul in the school and it has cursed the basketball team. The team were once champions but now can’t win a match. The team captain has enlisted the Breakfast Club Investigators (BCI), a group of four junior high kids from different backgrounds who share a passion for sleuthing, to solve the mystery so that the team can start winning again. The BCI have had modest success in solving one mystery some months ago but have not solved a case since. The newest kid to join the BCI, Marcus, is worried that if they can’t solve this one then they’ll lose credibility with their fellow students, will need to disband, and will go their separate ways. Marcus is dreading that. He’s enjoying his newfound friendships with the other BCI members – Asim, Lise, and Stacey – and doesn’t want things to change. However, in their eagerness to find out why the basketball team is cursed, the BCI accidently wreak havoc and the school principal forbids them from continuing to investigate.

This is an easy-to-read chapter book with a predictable storyline. The plot is simple: the BCI uncover a couple of clues, Stacey – who is obsessed with the supernatural – jumps to unrealistic conclusions, the other BCI members follow along and they’re no closer to a solution. Of course, they disobey the school principal and continue to investigate, eventually working up the nerve to trap the ghoul and unmask the perpetrator. Along the way, Marcus learns that regardless of the result, the BCI members have other things in common with each other binding their friendship, such as a fondness for reading.

This book is co-written with a famous English international soccer player, Marcus Rashford, who is an advocate for child literacy and the importance of breakfast to fuel the day. These topics feature in the story. Although targeted at readers aged 8 to 11, the simplicity of this story may better appeal to the 7 to 10 age range.

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