Simone LaFray watches her little sister, helps her dad at his Paris chocolate shop and is a member of a secret spy organization–just like any normal 12-year-old girl. With her mom away catching bad guys in her own spy job, Simone gets enlisted for her first field assignment: Catch the master thief Reynard Baresi, “the Red Fox”.
Girl genius Simone goes about her day speaking foreign languages and speed-reading great novels. She keenly observes her surroundings, often feeling slightly out of place when called upon to be a kid. But she tries. Simone likes helping her father, a world class chocolatier who happily creates extraordinary confections with a distracted, Zen contentment. But her spy world meets her family life when the Red Fox comes snooping around the chocolate shop, and Simone needs all her skills to find out who stole her family’s ancient recipes, and why.
Author S.P. O’Farrell unleashes a delightfully sweet young adult who-done-it in SIMONE LAFRAY AND THE CHOCOLATIERS’ BALL. O’Farrell sets the scene well, outlining Simone’s world and plotting in just the right amount of eccentric characters to sweeten the story. Simone’s talkative friend comes dressed in the right amount of annoying, and her “teacher” Eloise, a retired spy, guides Simone perfectly with her no-nonsense manners and actions.
Like all good books for kids who like to devour them, Simone’s character is both accessible and exotic. She’s the eight-year-old page-turner’s big sister and sixth-grade reader’s best friend. By placing Simone in a situation where she needs to help her father, her family and simultaneously be a spy, O’Farrell imagines a scenario that is both familiar and mysterious. And then there’s the chocolate, which pretty much delights everyone.
Finding her footing as a spy for the first time, 12-year-old Simone LaFray will delight readers as she uses her considerable brainpower to search for a mysterious international thief and save her family’s chocolate shop. Sweet and smart, SIMONE LAFRAY AND THE CHOCOLATIERS’ BALL is sure to satisfy mystery readers of any age.
~Greg Rideout for IndieReader