Review: The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines by Jo Ann Yhard

24 Sep

Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
Release year: 2010
Genre: MG mystery
One sentence summary: The Nancy Drew of Canada, eh.
Rating:5 out of 5
Review copy from author through publisher

Thirteen-year-old Grace already has too much going on — grieving over her father’s mysterious death, dealing with her distraught mother’s erratic parenting, and evading her creepy nosy neighbour, Mr. Stuckless, just for starters. She and her friends Fred, Mai, and Jeeter like to get away from it all by hunting for fossils near their secret hideaway, the abandoned mine they’ve nicknamed The Black Hole. But when Grace receives a strange note regarding her father’s death, it sets off a chain of events that sees Grace and her friends turning into detectives to solve the mystery behind his suspicious accident. As the clues and suspects start piling up and the investigation becomes more and more dangerous, Grace and her friends find themselves racing against time through treacherous sinkholes and abandoned mine shafts to figure out what really happened to her father.

From Nimbus Publishing website.

I forgot how much I loved a great middle grade mystery. When I was in grade six I got into Eric Wilson’s Tom and Liz Austin mysteries and started dreaming of being a writer when I grew up. Reading The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines took me back to those days and left me with a happy, glowy feeling.

This was a smart mystery. I mean, I’m 36 and there was stuff that I didn’t figure out. But once things were resolved, it was easy to look back and go “Ah, so THAT’S what happened!”. A lot takes place in The Fossil Hunters of Sydney Mines but it was all great. I mean, getting to read about the tar ponds? My Mom lost her grade 8 math book in those tar ponds. I love reading books about local places.

Grace was a great character. In fact ALL the characters were great. Her friends were fun to read about, each bringing something different to the story. And there was much talk of chocolate. How could you not love that?

Oh, you know what else The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines reminded me of? Scooby Doo!! It totally had a “those meddling kids” kinda vibe to it. Loved that.

I know this might not be an uber helpful review, but you know how I get when I love a book. I kinda go into blathering mode. If you enjoy MG fiction or have kids that read, go out and buy The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines. Just trust me.

Oh and now I get to do a bit of a neener-neener. I get to meet Jo Ann this Sunday at Word on the Street in Halifax. If you’re reading this Jo Ann, expect a total fan-girl moment.


9 Responses to “Review: The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines by Jo Ann Yhard”

  1. Jo Ann Yhard September 24, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    Thanks for the fab review! Love your references to kid appeal, Nancy Drew, Scooby Doo and maritime setting. “Nancy Drew of Canada”…Wow! Worshipped Nancy Drew so much as a kid, this got my a little teary.

    Looking forward to meeting you Sunday and kick butt at pitch the publisher!

  2. Chrisbookarama September 24, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    I must pick this one up!

  3. Suzanne September 24, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    I’ve just started my nine year-old niece on Nancy Drew mysteries and she likes them — do you think that this one is ok for her now or should I wait another year or two?

    • lavenderlines September 24, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

      I think this one would be great! The mystery interesting without being scary and the story’s great fun.

  4. L September 24, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    this was an uber helpful review. I’d not heard of this book and I now very much intrigued because of what you had to say about it.

    my daughter (age 10) loves mysteries, and characters with odd names like Mr. Stuckless (very funny). I am going to pick this up for her–and well, me, too.


    • lavenderlines September 25, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

      Glad I could help! Hope you guys like it.

  5. amymckie September 24, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

    I’m glad to see you liked this so much Colleen! Sounds interesting.


  1. Tweets that mention Review: The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines by Jo Ann Yhard « Lavender Lines -- - September 25, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Colleen McKie, Jo Ann Yhard and Nimbus Publishing, Colleen McKie. Colleen McKie said: A rambling review of The Fossil Hunter of Syndey Mines by @JoAnnYhard. Loved. It. @NimbusPub […]

  2. My fave reads of 2010 « Lavender Lines - January 2, 2011

    […] The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines by JoAnn Yhard – This middle grade mystery was so, so good! It took me back to the days of reading Eric Wilson. And the mystery? Yeah, I couldn’t figure it out. […]

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