________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 3 . . . . September 18, 2015


Operation Josh Taylor. (Hannah Smart, Book 1).

Melody Fitzpatrick.
Toronto, ON: Dundurn, 2015.
137 pp., trade pbk., pdf & epub, $12.99 (pbk.), $12.99 (pdf), $8.99 (epub).
ISBN 978-1-4597-3134-9 (pbk), ISBN 978-1-4597-3135-6 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4597-3136-3 (epub).

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Aileen Wortley.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



Do you ever wonder what people did before Google? I mean, how did they find out anything about anything? Now if you want to find out the population of mountain gorillas in Africa, it's just a click away; if you want to know how to make a triple-layer chocolate cake, that's a click away, too, and if you want to find easy ways to make money, just type it in. And that's exactly what I did, a little over an hour ago in the computer lab.

"I have it, Rachel," I say, closing up my locker for the day. "I have the perfect answer to our problem."

"The answer to our problem is money," she says, rubbing her fingers against her thumb.

"True," I say grinning, "and I know how we're gonna get it."

Hannah Smart and her best friend Rachel are shocked when their parents refuse to ante up for tickets to attend a local concert starring teen idol and talented singer, Josh Taylor. Undefeated, they determine to raise money to pay for their own tickets. After several false starts, they come up with a business venture which gains them not only the required cash but also fame. While the notoriety has its good side, it also creates issues with Hannah and Rachel's friendship. Adding to the stress for Hannah is fellow student Scarlet Hastings and her minions who are doing their best to thwart Hannah's plans as well as tension at home which threatens their dream of getting to see their heart-throb on stage.

      Melody Fitzpatrick, an educationalist, wrote this book having been inspired by her own daughter's infatuation with a teen idol. This is the first in a three part series featuring the escapades of Hannah Smart. 'Smart' by name and by nature, Hannah is a compelling lead-character and a very typical 13-year-old girl complete with mercurial emotions, breathy speech patterns and obsessions about popularity, fashion and pop-stars. Rachel, her best friend, is also a realistically drawn character whose staunch personality and common sense is a contrast to Hannah's more effervescent nature. There are times when one would like to know Rachel through her own voice, especially when she and Hannah have a serious falling out which is resolved without real explanation.

      The book is well-written, the dialogue astutely observed and Scarlet Hastings a credible and recognizable antagonist. The plot, which moves along at a good clip, keeps the reader thoroughly entertained and involved despite the ending's being just a little too pat as Hannah moves blithely on to pastures new. The subject matter might be seen as rather lightweight, but the story is able to provide life-lessons about friendship, resourcefulness and responsibility. This book will resonate with those aged 9-12 and is bound to be popular with readers anticipating further Hannah adventures.


Aileen Wortley is a retired librarian living in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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