Friday, March 27, 2015

ARC Review: Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

Scarlett UndercoverTitle: Scarlett Undercover
Author: Jennifer Latham
Source/Format: The NOVL Newsletter (Publisher), Paperback ARC
More Details: Young Adult, Mystery
Publisher/Publication Date: Little Brown, May 19, 2015

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Summary from Goodreads...

Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks -- and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father's murder...
When I signed up for this book I knew very little about it but the synopsis certainly got my attention. Not just because of the main character but also because of the mystery aspect—it just sounded like something I would enjoy. So as you can guess I was pretty excited to dive into this book and I have to say that I loved it! I literally read this book within a few hours.  It was the kind of book that I found hard to put down, and that's a good thing.  Because I was invested in the story, I wanted to see what happened next and what the characters would do about it.

The beginning of Scarlett Undercover instantaneously grabbed my attention, and I immediately knew that the seemingly simple case was going to end up being much more complicated. And wow, let me tell you, things got complicated real fast. Scarlett finds herself completely embroiled in the case, and I liked how she approached it head-on—even if she broke a few rules here and there.

As far as Scarlett goes, well, she was the perfect main character for this type of novel. She was smart, dedicated, and she cared about her sister, Reem. Basically, she was strong in her own way. I liked how Latham incorporated their faith into the novel, and built up the characters around past events that affected them in the present. Deck (Decker), well, all I have to say about him is that I liked his relationship with Scarlett—it was easy to see that he genuinely cared about her—and even though their relationship was already developed at the start of the story, it was easy to see their connection by the way they interacted with one another. The secondary characters had their own places in the story.  I liked seeing how their paths crossed with Scarlett's and how their respective roles ultimately influenced some of the events in the book.

And the plot—literally from page one I was sucked into this story. I wanted to know more about Gemma, her brother, and the circumstances surrounding her situation that eventually led her to Scarlett. Needless to say there was plenty of suspense, action, and mystery that ultimately made this a page-turner for me. And the end…well I did not see it coming. I like it when a story can keep me guessing and that twist near the end was There was a lot of deception involved that just blindsided me when it was finally revealed.

At the end of the day, Scarlett Undercover had a mix of interesting elements that ultimately came together to form a fantastic story set against the gritty backdrop of Las Almas.

This galley of the book was provided by The NOVL (newsletter/publisher) for this review, thank you!

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