Today I’m bringing you a review of Twelfth by Janet Key. I read this middle-grade mystery in April and I absolutely loved it! Check out my review below.
Author: Janet Key
Publication Date: May 17, 2022
Genre: Middle-Grade Mystery
Number of Pages: 368
From Goodreads: Better Nate Than Ever meets The Parker Inheritance in this heartwarming mystery about finding your people and accepting others as they are.
Twelve-year-old Maren is sure theater camp isn’t for her. Theater camp is for loud, confident, artsy people: people like her older sister, Hadley—the last person Maren wants to think about—and her cinema-obsessed, nonbinary bunkmate, Theo. But when a prank goes wrong, Maren gets drawn into the hunt for a diamond ring that, legend has it, is linked to the camp’s namesake, Charlotte “Charlie” Goodman, a promising director in Blacklist Era Hollywood.
When Maren connects the clues to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, she and her new friends are off searching through lighting booths, orchestra pits and costume storages, discovering the trail and dodging camp counselors. But they’re not the only ones searching for the ring, and with the growing threat of camp closing forever, they’re almost out of time.
Thank you to the publisher, Little, Brown Books, for providing me with an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The first thing that I want to say about Twelfth is that it was incredible. I didn’t know what to expect when I went into this book because the description was kind of vague, but I ended up loving this book. It was full of Truly Devious vibes, and I cannot recommend it enough.
Twelfth is a mystery book. A mysterious slip of paper ends up in Maren’s possession on one of her first nights at summer camp. Eventually, she realizes that it is a clue, and one clue leads to another. What follows is a mystery that will leave you at the edge of your seat, trying to figure out what will happen next. The story goes back and forth between the past and the present, and it really makes for a fantastic and wild ride.
Unsurprisingly, I loved the characters in this book. I thought Maren was brilliant, and I wanted to give her a massive hug. I liked reading about her trying to solve the mystery, but I also liked reading about her trying to come to terms with her sister’s mental health issues. I liked that she wasn’t perfect and that, at times, she was selfish and angry with her family. I loved Theo, who was non-binary. I loved their interest in filmmaking and how close they became with Maren. I also loved that Maren corrected people when they used the wrong pronouns when referring to Theo. I also liked the other two side characters who helped Maren and Theo solve the mystery.
I liked the flashbacks to the past. I liked the glimpses of Old Hollywood and learning about Charlotte Goodman. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I thought Charlotte’s story was great, and I loved the LGBTQIA+ rep.
I also loved the mystery aspect of this book. I liked that each clue led to another clue. It reminded me of a treasure hunt, and I was very invested in the outcome. Unfortunately, though I read Twelfth Night in High School, I really don’t remember much of it, so a lot of the clues went over my head. I did appreciate the ties to Shakespeare, though, and I liked that the clues were tied to the play.
I also liked the rep in this story. I am not part of the LGBTQIA+ community, so I cannot comment on the accuracy of the rep, but it was nice seeing a non-binary character in a middle-grade book. I also thought it was nice to see Charlotte Goodman’s story in a middle-grade book, and I hope to see more rep like this in middle-grade books in the future. I also liked that there was a conversation with Dr. Jennifer Feldman at the end of this book about gender diversity.
I also liked the setting of this book. Generally speaking, I like boarding schools and summer camps. I loved that this book took place at a theatre camp, and I had a lot of fun reading about the characters learning about theatre and putting on their production of Twelfth Night.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters, the setting, the mystery, and the rep. If you liked Truly Devious, you should definitely consider checking out this book. I cannot wait to see what this author writes next.
Rating: 5 stars!
If you’re interested, you can purchase a copy of Twelfth from Amazon* here.
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