Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Today's read... It's a RHAP, Cat by Lee Y Miao

It's mystery time! Today's read slides into art history and places a normal, middle grade girl in the center of it. I liked that it was a shorter read at 190 pages, and that it seems to incorporate several original aspects. But let's just head on in and see how it is!

An Ellie & Co Book
by Lee Y. Miao
Middle Grade Mystery
190 pages
ages 8 to 12

FEBRUARY 21st!!!

When twelve-year-old Cat discovers her look-alike in a portrait by Raphael, she can't wait to research this mysterious lady from the 16th century. But sparks fly when she signs up for the Renaissance History and Art Project (RHAP) contest.

To win, Cat needs to ask her one-time rival, Trey. She's distracted by softball. He's distracted by lacrosse. They're both distracted by the class diva.

Will she find clues in old letters handed down over generations? Or will the lady's secrets remain undeciphered? It's up to Cat to solve the riddle. If only more than five hundred years didn't stand in her way!



Art and history gain a fun twist in this exciting read, which sneaks in mystery while dealing with usual, middle grade themes.

When Cat sees a double of herself in a historical painting, her curiosity is peaked, but her plans to dig into the history of the painting are jostled right along with her chances of getting into Honors History Class. Taking the chance to enter RHAP (a art history contest tied to the Honors class), she gets the help of her crush, Trey. And she'll need it, since the most popular girl of the class is determined to win...and won't take Cat's participation quietly. Add softball drama, family problems, and the issues of first love, and Cat has more than enough to figure out. 

This read covers so many things and does it with ease. There's art and history, which not only offer a few glimpses into the subjects but create a mysterious atmosphere around both, driving away the usual 'boredom' the age group might connect with them. Then, there's the normal school and life drama. Cat has to deal with friendship, first crushes, family matters, and balancing everything as well as she can. Next we have sports and dealing with the dynamics that has to offer. Finally, there's the mystery...oh, and a little traveling to Rome tossed in, too. So, it's a broad spectrum, and the author swirls it together smoothly while creating an enjoyable, well-paced read.

Cat is sweet, curious, and a wonderful character to follow. She does her best, gets frustrated, but never gives up. She makes mistakes and has to deal with the consequences. Most importantly, she does work with others and knows when she can't handle something completely alone. All of these made her believable and easy to sympathize with. 

The mystery is well-laid for the age group and weaves in with the other aspects well. It's hard to see what the end result will be. The secrets and research do pace themselves well with the other subplots, giving it a rounded atmosphere and keeping something happening on every page. And nothing feels forgotten, either, or rushed. It's a fun read with lovely characters, and I hope to see Cat again soon.

1 comment:

Lee Y. Miao said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful review!