This was the second book by A.J. Cattapan I have read, and currently there are only two available. And this was an wonderful read. When I was in university I did two different Children's Literature courses and I believe this book would be a great addition to either of them. The pace is incredible. The plot and story are both wonderful.
When I started reading this book I thought about The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, and a few paragraphs one of the characters compares the events happening to that same book. And as much as I loved that book in the end, it took a while to grow on me, where this book had me hooked from the get go. In fact I found it very hard to put this book down, I kept saying 'just one more chapter' until the book was finished in two sittings.
As can be guessed by the title, and the comparison to The Westing Game this book focuses around seven riddles. There are a group of heirs trying to obtain a fortune. Now most of the heirs know the family story and stories about their quirky uncle Edward. But Kameron Boyd, Kam is not related, he is the mystery cousin. And the other cousins are searching for the treasure for the money; Kam wants to find the treasure so that he can save his school. Kam has been to five schools in seven years. He also cannot speak when adults are around outside of his home. St. Jude's has had declining enrolment for years, and though it does well on the state wide tests, and has great equipment the diocese plans to close it down unless the school can come up with a plan. And thus enters the 7 Riddles contest. Because of his issue talking this is the first time Kam has felt at home in a school and has real friends. And he wants to win the contest to keep that together.
This story is part adventure, part scavenger hunt, part church history, part travel, and a whole lot of mystery. Kam and his friends visit 5 Catholic churches in and around Chicago while following the riddles. The artwork and layout of the churches are true to real life. Because of his issue talking this is the first time Kam has felt at home in a school and has real friends.
The whole story takes place over a few days. The main part of the clue hunt is during a single day. Kam and his friends are wonderful characters. And the church history that is woven into the story is a lot of fun. Both of the 5 churches visited and the theology behind some of the clues and riddles.
I absolutely loved this story and look forward to reading it again with my children. The oldest now and the others as they grow older. And I sincerely hope that we see more from A.J. Cattapan soon, I for one will be keeping an eye out for more reads and if they are as good as this we are in for some more great reading!
Books by A.J. Cattapan:
Seven Riddles to Nowhere
Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!