I received a review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review ahead of a book tour for the book.
Genre: Mystery/contemporary Age Range: MG Star Rating: 4 stars Series: Standalone
Flick’s big brother, Jack, goes missing in Peru and she is desperate to find him. But can she solve the greatest mystery of all: who Jack really is?
Twelve-year-old Flick adores Jack and loves solving puzzles with him. But Jack is soon to flee the family nest and Flick worries she’ll lose her partner in crime. Dad wants Jack to take his future more seriously, but Flick doesn’t want her prankster brother ever to change. During his gap year in Peru, tragedy strikes when an earthquake devastates the region and no one knows what has happened to Jack. Flick and her family are thrown into the horrible unknown.
Soon afterwards, she is bewildered to find a key on a fine gold chain and a note with the initials SF in his room and clings to the hope that SF (whoever that is) might hold the clue to finding her brother. When she sets out to uncover the identity of its owner, she meets new friends, rekindles a special relationship and discovers a whole new side to Jack. Intriguing clues from a legend about Inca gold, to a key with magical powers, help her along the way.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
THE KEY TO FINDING JACK is such a fun mystery-cum-contemporary that I devoured in one day. It’s such a readable book, with an engrossing, emotional tale. I wanted to know that he was safe, knowing just how hard it can be to contact loved ones when you are abroad and out of signal range.
On the one hand, it’s about a girl desperate to find her brother after he goes missing, following clues taken from conversations with others, very much like a missing-persons mystery. On the other, Flick discovers her beloved brother is more complicated (in a good way) than she ever imagined, realising people have many faces and we often can only see the ones we want.
I liked how this element of finding there was more to her brother set is apart from a typical mystery. There is no killer or thief, just a person to shine more light onto. It gives it such heart, as it’s such a personal reason with a chance of a hopeful, joyous ending. Bringing a killer to justice can’t give you that, but THE KEY TO FINDING JACK is a heartwarming tale of the persistent love of siblings.
Alongside this, we also read Flick’s own attempts at writing a mystery story, with snippets of the story that mirror her own search. Her story was such a great way of showing how much the search had affected her whole life, as well as giving her a way to process her emotions.
Alongside Flick’s search, and this story-within-a-story, Ewa Josefkowicz somehow also manages to fit in glimpse of starting school, making friends, and the pressure of expectation. All within such a slim volume! It really is impressive how much is between the pages.
Read my reviews of other books by Ewa Jozefkowicz: