Friday, February 18, 2011

Kate's Philadelphia Frenzy

Kate's Philadelphia Frenzy is the fifth installment of Barbour Publishing's Camp Club Girls light-hearted, mystery series. In it, Kate and Sydney team up to help Kate's friend, Andrew, and his father. When Andrew's dad, renowned Phillies shortstop, Tony Smith, is recorded making disparaging remarks about his team, his fans and teammates turn against him. Only Kate and Sydney believe he was framed. With Kate's technological expertise, Sydney's love of baseball, and long-distance support from the other four Camp Club Girls, the mystery doesn't stay unsolved for long.

The "Camp Club Girls" is a group of six girls who met at summer camp. They became friends, rescued a puppy and solved a mystery together. Now, they stay in touch via email and instant messaging, as well as traveling across the country to visit each other.

In Kate's Philadelphia Frenzy, Sydney is thrilled to be invited to stay with Kate and help her figure out who is framing Andrew's dad. Sydney loves baseball, and appreciates the chance to meet Mr. Smith and attend some home games. Kate, however, is clueless about baseball. She even calls the bases "placemats, " and the field a "court." She tries to be interested in the game, but is more excited about all the technology in use. Kate and her dad invent robotic devices, and Kate has tons of high-tech gadgets at her disposal. These gadgets and a blog site she sets up are instrumental in solving the mystery, and restoring Mr. Smith to favor with his team.

Throughout the book, the girls rely on God and counsel Andrew to trust Him, as well. They ask Elizabeth, the oldest "Camp Club" girl, to set up a prayer team, and they are sure to thank God for answering prayers. They also learn how destructive rumors can be.

What I Like: The girls in this series are all fun-loving, smart, and unique. They love God, but they also love to chat, eat at restaurants, and have adventures. They are realistic role models for pre-teens who may be wondering what it means to be a Christian in a secular world. Things aren't always perfect, but they always fall back on God.

I also like the varied settings of the mysteries. From Washington D.C., to a western ranch, to the baseball field, the settings are as unique as the girls.

In this book, I especially like how author, Janice Hanna, portrays the friendship between Sydney and Kate. Kate is super smart, interested in technology, and not at all athletic. Sydney, on the other hand, has been in the Junior Olympics, and loves sports. However, they are good friends despite their differences.

What I Dislike: I still am not convinced having a different author for each book is the best way to write the series. I find the voice changes from book to book, and the spiritual tone is not consistent. I realize each book highlights a different girl, but I think the writing would be stronger if one author was writing all of the books.

Also, I was disappointed in the cover image of Kate. She is described in the book as petite, with freckles and glasses, but she is shown on the book's cover as a polished blonde with flawless skin and hair, and no glasses.

Overall Rating: Very good

Age Appeal: 8-12

Publisher Info: Barbour Publishing, 2010; ISBN: 978-1-60260-271-1; Paperback, 157 pages, $5.99

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Special Info: View our reviews of other Camp Club Girls books here.

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