Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Thirteen-year-old October Schwartz is new in town; she spends her free time in the Sticksville Cemetery and it isn't long before she befriends the ghosts of five dead teenagers, each from a different era of the past. They form the Dead Kid Detective Agency, a group committed to solving Sticksville's most mysterious mysteries.
Paperback , pages. The Dead Kid Detective Agency 1.
Sunburst Award Nominee for Young Adult To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. When is this book set? Lists with This Book. I hadn't read a children's book in a few years, probaby since my last children's literature exam. That's why I wanted to like this so badly. Unfortunately, there wasn't much to like. October Schwartz is a year-old girl, and because she skipped a year in her old school, she's younger than all her classmates.
There, entirely by accident, October raised the spirits of five children buried in the local cemetery. This book has many, many flaws. Evan Munday is an illustrator - every chapter of The Dead Kid Detective Agency has at least one of his great illustrations. Unfortunately, that also means that writing is not his most developed talent. He made some mistakes he never should have made — things any experienced author would see from a mile away. I felt like all the humor was on the first 50 pages or so. It was a very promising start, but after that, it was neither funny nor cute. These changes continue throughout the book.
The only people who can judge the correctness of a certain variety are those who created it to satisfy their own social needs. View all 18 comments. An entertaining mystery for middle grade readers. It is the first day of high school for the plucky, precocious, semi goth girl, October. Today she is starting at her new school in Sticksville and she is especially nervous because she is only thirteen, a year younger than her peers. She hopes that no one will learn her actual age. Anxiously, she shoulders her backpack and meanders past the old cemetery adjacent to her house.
While others may be a little jittery living next door to t Three Stars: While others may be a little jittery living next door to the graveyard, October is intrigued by the crumbling headstones and tranquil atmosphere. Alas, school calls; head down she ducks through the congested halls hoping to go unnoticed and somehow endure the day. No such luck; sandwiched beside her locker is the resident queen bee, Ashley and her swarm of drones. Popular sneers her direction and immediately dubs her "zombie tramp".
So much for coasting through her debut at Sticksville. October withstands the day and she even makes a couple of friends. She might just survive after all. The days begin to pass by and afternoons are soon spent scribbling away on her horror novel in the graveyard. Then her favorite teacher Mr. O'Shea is killed in an untimely accident, crushed by the lift in the auto shop.
October has a nagging suspicion that his death was no accident. The question is was her teacher murdered and if so by whom? Can the dead kids and October solve the crime? It is slightly sarcastic and witty. An abundance of funny aside commentary will surely generate some snickers. It has definitely been awhile since I read a book with pictures.
Leading me to wonder, why aren't more adult books illustrated? I like the visual depictions of the scenes. October is adventurous, resourceful, a bit of an underdog and she has a quick wit. The five ghosts are all from unique time periods and ethnic backgrounds. It was fun watching them navigate in our time and experience them trying to learn the ropes of modern day technology. Santuzzi was especially funny with his bad clothes, suspicious hair was it a toupee or not?
Meeting her teachers certainly gave me flashbacks to my own school days. I honestly spent most of the book trying to figure out the mystery. The story will lead you to one suspect, only to steer you on a detour to another. There are some twists and surprises along the way. A lively, little mystery. And The Not So Much: While some parts would appeal to the younger crowd they were many aspects that led me to believe that this was more suited for a more mature reader. For instance the book is set in high school, which of course presents many issues that are pertienent for that age group. It would be better if October was in junior high, more relatable for the target reader.
There was a scene that involved some teenage drinking and smoking, again material for an older reader or preferably not at all. The first time one popped up I was definitely confused. After awhile it made sense as to why they there written into the plot but I do not feel that it integrated smoothly into the story. Personally, I was a somewhat bored with the journal pages. The early introduction of the missing mother indicated that it would be a story line followed to the end.
Instead it is left hanging at the end of the novel for completion in a future book. If the author was not going to finish the story line then why bring it up in the beginning? He also introduces each of the dead kids and discusses the strange circumstances surrounding their deaths. Not one of the ghosts knew the specifics of their demise. It is hinted that this will be answered in future novels but I wanted at least some answers in this book.
The Dead Kid Detective Agency is a witty introduction into a series for middle grade readers. While the book does have a few problems it is still an enjoyable read. However, I think it is best suited for older middle grade readers. It is quirky and funny and October and the dead kids are like able characters. It will be fun to see where the series goes from here. View all 4 comments. Mar 18, Beka rated it it was ok.
Though the concept was interesting enough, this whole book felt like slogging through mud. It took much longer than it should have to read just because there was so much verbage to wade through. Also, though the author tried making the protagonist an underdog to root for emphasizing multiple times that she's misunderstood, slightly overweight, a 13 year old starting high school, missing mother, depressed father, etc.
I will NOT be reading any of the sequels. Feb 22, colleen the convivial curmudgeon rated it it was ok Shelves: Actually, I just thought it was cool it was set in Canada, 'cause so few fantasy type books seems to be. Well, at least the ones I've read. But I just never really connected with any of the characters much, and the mystery itself was pretty eh. It kinda seemed to be more about October and her weirdness and school and mean girls and stuff - all 2. It kinda seemed to be more about October and her weirdness and school and mean girls and stuff - all of which was handled fairly well, but none of which was all that great.
Also, it was bugging me that it kept changing from first-person narrative to third-person limited.
About halfway through, or more, the third-person becomes sort of relevant in that we follow the dead kids instead of October, but for most of the book both the first-person and third-person parts solely follow October, so it just seemed pointless much of the time. Also, the voices of the two narratives were very similar. Both sort of addressed the audience and tried to be witty in the same way - though the third-person narrative was more direct about it. Then there were some chapters from the diary of Henri someone, and while it does become relevant to the story, it was kind of weirdly thrown in in random places.
And it also stopped somewhere like midway through the story, instead of continuing through the end - though the end is where it would've fit more and I actually would've liked that bit to be fleshed out more. All in all a sort of decent read, but nothing to write home about. I doubt I'll continue the series. Younger kids might like it - if they're not distracted by the author's attempt to use hip and cool vernacular that has probably long gone out of fashion by now.
It sounded more like the way I talked in high school - almost 20 years ago - than how I hear my niece speak nowadays. Dec 18, Emily rated it liked it. This book was good. The beginning was boring because it just talks about her school. At the part where the teacher dies it gets better because October is trying to find out who did it and why.
I kept reading because I was curious to find out. I liked the charaters too. My favourite was Stacey because he would stand up for October when Ashley was mean to her. This book was great and I could not put it down! Sep 01, Sarah rated it liked it Shelves: I liked the links to Canada and Canadian history; we don't see that enough, but there were too many clues and red herrings - it was kind of like October's book.
I also wasn't sure about the intrusive narrator. I think I would have preferred one point of view. Aug 19, K rated it it was ok Shelves: Which is a shame because the mystery was one of my bigger issues with the book. But I'm getting ahead of myself, obligatory summary thing is always first and foremost! We have the wannabe-author, occasionally plucky, goth protagonist, October Schwartz.
Her father, the depressed chemistry teacher still mourning his runaway wife. Together they move to Sticksville and get tangled up with mean girls, a zombie tramp and boy with a girl's name, an overly nice, horror-loving, French teacher, and the death or rather murder of said French teacher. Oh and minor detail, the ghosts of dead kids like to put on plays in the cemetery behind October's house.
With all that I thought it had potential, and the first chapter geared me up for some humourous narration to boot. And then I got to the next chapter and suddenly 'October said' was replaced with 'I said' and I this 'I' being me was suddenly confused. Now I love some good POV swaps, when it is done right. Now I think I know why. While neither was terrible, the narrator which slowly ran out of humour steam was still superior and made me wish the author had stuck to that. While October's voice was not terrible, it was fairly similar to the narrator with most of the over-the-top-ness stripped out.
Not helping matters was that it went on to alternate between these two for the rest of the book. Also, pop culture references are all well and good but if you could keep them to a minimum in my book, that would be much appreciated. Strike number one, the POV switches. I was willing to overlook the ever so slightly jarring third person-first person jumps if the story was worth it.
Like the narration, it started out promising. We get October, a few tidbits about a missing mother, see creepy-yet-comforting-to-October cemetery front and central, and a whacky school. And then we get more of the foremost and latter and none of the middle. I was interested in reading about a murder mystery, not so much October dealing with highschool, friends who aren't really friends, and mean girls.
But that is actually the majority of the book save for a few bumbling ghost interludes. I have a special place in my heart for school dramas, it sits right beside boiled spinach and Shakespeare essay alright, so it isn't that bad. I mean it's still above sappy love triangles. I can add that as a pro for this book, almost zero romance. Strike two, too much school, too little murderous murders and interesting detective ghosts. All things considered though, the school drama wasn't appalling and I was willing to wade through it in order to sink my teeth into a good mystery.
There was just one problem, what mystery? Alright so the obviously-so-nice French teacher gets crushed by his car in the school auto shop. Police say accident, some teachers say suicide. October instantly changes her mind to murder. There isn't a real reason why except for the 'he would never kill himself' which I assume is why the Police said it was an accident. Okay, so there is 'how did he get in without a key? Perfect, why don't you find some more evidence now? Just going to get mad at teachers, let mean girls verbally abuse you, and occasionally order around some ghosts to 'snoop' for you?
So she has two in real life who are pretty nice, but she isn't really nice to them. Then there are the ghost kids, who she does nothing but order around for the few minutes a night she spends with them. I honestly have no idea why they keep helping her out after all she does is complain about the murder and try bribing them with board games. They aren't overly nice to her either. Somehow they are all super-duper-bestie-friendies at the end though. Which basically consists of October going to school and randomly picking new 'suspects' while the dead kids bust up houses at night for 'proof'.
I have to assume they were part comic relief, part making up for October's lack of investigation. There was the annoying, insulting one, the one who agreed to help for no reason every time, the one who fought with most of the others, and then the two who didn't do overly much except get lost and stare at one of the other ghosts. Their 'investigating' consisted of trashing houses, occasionally pulling a poltergeist stunt, and joyriding. There were also loose rules about when they could go out and what they could or could not do. Over all, they weren't my favourite and considering they are an integral part of the story that's not a good thing.
We get a diary, possible alternate identity of murder victim, and a slew of teachers who may be connected to that identity view spoiler [Surprise! The murderer is the one teacher who doesn't show a connection until the end! Then it all fall into place at the very end and the day is saved. Strike THREE, the 'mystery' All in all, nothing terrible, just not my idea of a mystery novel to sit down and chow through in a pleasant afternoon. If you like slightly whacky, modern day teen drama with some supernatural elements, a murder 'mystery', and plenty of classic horror book and film references thrown in then you will probably enjoy The Dead Kid Detective Agency more than I did.
Though it sounds like I'm slagging the book it had some interesting ideas, they just didn't fall into place for me. But I read it through to the end and quite enjoyed the start before I realised how the rest of the book would be. Hovering between 2 and 3 stars, I'll settle on a low 2. Not for me, but maybe somebody else.
Dec 19, RaygunGothic rated it it was amazing Shelves: Probably because the author is a man? October attempts to solve the murder of her favorite teacher by e "Did Nancy Drew ever have to cope with a disapproving and clinically depressed father? October attempts to solve the murder of her favorite teacher by employing a group of ghosts she accidentally raised when reading from a book she's writing title: Two Knives, Demons. Working with ghosts has certain advantages: Another odd choice is the time period. October is 13 years old, but in ninth grade.
Aug 02, Dania rated it really liked it. Oh this book kept me laughing throughout! Although it was strange that a living girl is solving mysteries with ghost kids, it actually was a win-win situation! I love how October was constantly alert on the possible killers of Mr.
O'Shea, not becoming like the cliche protagonist in mystery novels who seem to believe the suspect is the Oh this book kept me laughing throughout! O'Shea, not becoming like the cliche protagonist in mystery novels who seem to believe the suspect is the person where ALL the evidence leads to, a.
I think that October solving the mysteries of the dead kids will be interesting. Excited for the next books! Mar 19, Hylary Locsin rated it really liked it. Originally posted on my blog: Check it out for more reviews! After her father gets a new job teaching high school biology, thirteen-year-old October Schwartz is forced to move to the small Canadian town of Sticksville to a house situated right next to a graveyard.
The Dead Kid Detective Agency has ratings and 65 reviews. Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said: I hadn't read a children's book in a few years, probaby. The Dead Kid Detective Agency (The Dead Kid Detective Agency, #1), Dial M for Morna (The Dead Kid Detective Agency, #2), Loyalist to a Fault (The Dead.
A fan of horror novels and black eyeliner, October is actually kind of excited about the cemetery, but is not so thrilled to be starting at Sticksville Central High School. Having skipped a grade, Originally posted on my blog: Having skipped a grade, she is a full year younger than the rest of the ninth grade class, and, to make matters worse, she will be facing the daily battle of running into her dad at school. Things at Sticksville Central are not as bad as October was expecting, however.
Although she is understandably unsettled by her new friends, October realizes that their ability to move through walls and travel unseen might be the key to finding out what really happened to Mr. The addition of her ghost detective posse proves to be very entertaining, providing many opportunities for paranormal shenanigans, something that will undoubtedly keep the series entertaining as the following installments are published.
Although many of the pop-culture references are likely to soar over the heads of younger readers i. Overall, The Dead Kid Detective Agency is an easily enjoyable, entertaining and downright funny story that many young readers are sure to love.
However, I think it is best suited for older middle grade readers. The characters drew me in and took me back several decades. Oh and minor detail, the ghosts of dead kids like to put on plays in the cemetery behind October's house. Over all, they weren't my favourite and considering they are an integral part of the story that's not a good thing. View all 18 comments.
A preview of the second installment in the series can be found in the final pages of the book, although the expected publication date or title of this novel have not been announced. Not many authors joke quite as much as he does in telling the story, so it was somewhat new territory for me. Once I became more accustomed to it, however, I ended up really enjoying this book! That being said, I do think that this aspect of the novel will be lost on many readers since I am personally considerably older than the tween audience the story targets.
I would highly recommend this title to tween readers who want something with a bit of edge and a lot of laughs. Sep 23, Liliana rated it it was amazing Shelves: Review also found here: Thanks to the publisher for the reviewing copy: October just moved to a new town with her clinically depressed father where she will be starting a new life at a new school. She skipped a whole grade at her old school. But I like October: And thus the Dead Kid Detective Agency was born!
October and the ghosts of 5 dead kids around her age try to figure out who and why they committed the murder. I was very aware that this book was aimed at kids around the middle school age when I requested to review it I really liked the plot and the mystery behind it. Remember that murderer I was talking about? I sooo did not guess correctly who that was! In fact, I was so surprised when I found out who it was, that I had to read it twice! Anyway, the plot was great, the twists were great, and the characters I also liked.
They were all very diverse, especially the ghost kids who each came from a different era. And all the weird names the characters had was fun: In general, I absolutely loved the book! I especially liked the few drawings it had throughout the book. That was different and definitely something I enjoyed. The book was beyond funny!
But a book that can make me laugh like that is always a plus. I also liked how the narrator kept referring to us—the readers. Check out your Greek myths, kids. Those stories are messed up to the extreme. And its sooo true! D I recommend this book for kids around the middle school age. My brother is actually in 8th grade and I recommended this book to him as I was reading it.
However, I think anyone can read it, not just kids. This book is of course worthy of 5 stars. Oct 12, Lakis Fourouklas rated it it was amazing. To begin with a lot of the action takes place in a graveyard, then the main character somehow reminds us of Coraline and Bod and, finally, every now and then the narration becomes dark, without lacking though a sense of humor. This is the story of October Schwartz, a thirteen year old girl that moves with her manic-depressive father to the town of Stickville where the latter is hired as a science teacher. October is a lonely girl, with a healthy imagination, and pretty sad since her mother passed away ten years before.
She really loves reading a lot, her favorite author is Stephen King, but she also likes to write. The place she likes the most in the new city is the cemetery, which is conveniently situated very close to her home. She often goes there at night to think, to reminiscence and to read. And all is well, until there comes a time when she sees a transparent figure sliding away into the darkness; and then another.
The six of them, along with her best living friends, Yumi and Stacey, will start on a journey into a world of mystery, full of obstacles and colored with agony, which will make their friendship even stronger, but that will also bring out the best of each and every one of them. Each new day will bring with it a surprise, now and then pleasant, most of the times not, and every night will pave the way to new unrest.
The landscape where the events of this story take place is bleak, but not scary. October seems to be brave but nevertheless frightened, strong but with lots of weaknesses, determined but willing to take a step back when the circumstances demand it of her. This is a well-crafted adventure, with a big heart, which can bring much reading joy to young and adult readers alike. Ok, so lets just say that I was wrong about this book.
I apologize to the Dead Kids. I had a hard time getting into it. The first 80 or so pages were hard. Day in the life of a thenyo genius Goth girl kinda dull.