Saturday, April 9, 2022

NO CLUES, YOU LOSE: A Review by Guest Blogger Elliott Kurta and a Giveaway

 REVIEW

Perfect for any wannabe sleuth or basketball fan, No Clues, You Lose is an elementary school novel unlike any other. Josephine Jacobs, also known as Joey, is more than proud to be on her local wheelchair basketball team, the Rollin’ Hornets. After a rebranding, her team has ordered new uniforms to avoid risking disqualification from the upcoming tournament in Atlanta. However, a stolen delivery threatens to derail Joey’s dreams. How will she find the missing uniforms? None of the clues make sense, Joey can’t use her computer because of an incident with her sister, and Coach Mike, as well as most of the parents, want to forfeit the tournament. Using the help of her friends and family, Joey moves past these obstacles to discover both where the missing uniforms went and how she can be a better team-player.

Despite being a lighthearted novel, A.B. Donahue, the author, brings realism and relevance to the book. This story doesn’t shy away from showing how Joey is treated differently by some people. Still, with a combination of determination and optimism, she persists in proving that she’s just as capable as anyone else. While she solves the mystery of the disappearing uniforms, Joey also learns the importance of acceptance, sportsmanship, and taking responsibility for your actions.


Not your average children’s book, No Clues, You Lose sets itself apart from the pack with red herrings, a plot twist, and elevated vocabulary. This novel is meant for seven-to-eleven-year-olds, but it isn’t reminiscent of the writing typical of elementary school mysteries; this is a novel for readers that have progressed beyond picture and phonic books and are ready for a challenge. Even between dubious online auctions, a dangerous snoop through a landfill, and nearly getting trapped in a house with a criminal, A. B. Donahue writes an easy to follow and age-appropriate story which will leave you guessing—but not confused.


Educational yet engaging, No Clues, You Lose is perfect for read-aloud sessions. There’s a lot which young readers can learn from this novel. Managing your emotions, respecting your friends and family, and accepting others’ differences are all examples of takeaways. With writing that will challenge but not stump budding readers, it's no question that No Clues, You Lose is a parent’s first choice for any story time. Joey’s narration does not disappoint, and neither does the unexpected ending to this elementary school thriller for both boys and girls. 



Elliott is a prolific reader of various genres who is more than happy to share his opinions on books. 
In his free time, he enjoys writing, reading, and running. 
He is an 8th grade homeschool student in Charlotte, NC. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A.B. Donahue has a degree in music therapy and psychology from Queens University of Charlotte, and worked with children and youth with special healthcare needs for over 20 years. She and her husband and have four children; and all of them have some kind of special healthcare need. She also founded a nonprofit, Signposts Ministries, in 2010, to serve families that have children and youth with special healthcare needs.

GIVEAWAY

I have an autographed copy of No Clues, You Lose for one winner. Please leave a comment by April 13 along with your email address if you are new to my blog. U.S. addresses only. I will be giving away a second copy through the Talking Story newsletter which Joyce Hostetter and I co-publish. Our spring issue is on "Empowering Disability Through Kidlit" and will publish on April 13. Haven't signed up for our quarterly newsletter yet? You can do it here--great articles, activities, and most of all--more BOOKS! 

Congratulations to Esther Bandy who won A Penny's Worth.

MAKE SURE

You check out other marvelous books on Greg Pattridge's MMGM blog on Monday! 

34 comments:

Danielle H. said...

I love good middle grade mysteries and I like how this author choose to feature a POV character in a wheelchair. This will be a fun read for me.

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm glad to see a book about wheelchairs and basketball. In Flying Lessons & Other Stories published by We Need Diverse Books, there's a short story called, "Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push" by Walter Dean Myers about a boy in a wheelchair who plays basketball, and I always thought it would make a great subject for a novel. Thanks for this review.

Terri DeGezelle Michels said...

I remember reading mystery after mystery as a young reader. I remember going on hikes to a big rock, unpacking my picnic lunch and notebook, and writing down anything that may have seemed suspicious around me. This sounds like one of the mysteries I used to so enjoy!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Danielle, Theresa, and Terri for your comments. Interesting how this book resonates with all three of you. I'm sure the author will be happy to hear that!

Storylady said...

Sounds like such a good read. My 10 year old grands would love it. Please enter me fir a chance to win.

Carol Baldwin said...

You're in, Gwen! I think they would like it.

Elliott Kurta said...

Thank you so much for all of your comments! I too thought that having the main character in a wheelchair was a novel (literally) idea. And I enjoyed hearing about your childhood spying, Terri.

Natalie Aguirre said...

This sounds like a great read. Thanks for reviewing it for us, Elliott. I'll pass on the giveaway since I just won the last one.

Valinora Troy said...

Sounds a great take on a kids mystery! Great review!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thank you, Valinora.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Natalie. Elliott is a great reviewer!

Gail Hurlburt said...

GOOD MORNING! This book sounds amazing for one of my older grandchildren! NO CLUES, YOU LOSE! Please enter my name for the give away!

Gail Hurlburt

Carol Baldwin said...

You're in Gail!

Patricia T. said...

Great review by Eliot. I really love seeing stories about kids with differently abilities shining at what they do. The mystery adds even more intrigue and shows how much the kids want to compete. A great story where kids can see themselves in the story. And kids can also learn empathy towards others and see how much they want to participate in activities. Great story!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Patricia. Your words will delight both the author and reviewer!

Greg Pattridge said...

Thanks for recommending this story, Elliott. A lot of kids ages 8-13 would enjoy the plot and characters. I made note of the title for a future read but will have to pass on the giveaway. Another stellar review, though!

Esther M. Bandy said...

This sounds like a wonderful middle-grade mystery. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Elliott Kurta said...

Your comments mean so much to me; thank you for all of your support. I'm so excited to see all the interest in this title.

Carol Baldwin said...

I'm so glad you're gaining a voice as a writer, Elliott! I'm in the wings waiting to see the places you'll go!

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Great review, Elliot!

Rosi said...

I love Elliott's reviews. They are so thorough and well written. Thanks for continuing to feature them. This book sounds great. I will pass on the giveaway. I am just buried in books right now. Thanks for the post.

DMS said...

I love a good mystery and this sounds interesting. Thanks to Elliot for the review! Always great to hear what a kid thinks about a book meant for kids. :)

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Jess, I agree!

Annie Beth Donahue said...

Hi All!

Thank you for the kind comments about my book! Elliot - you did a very thorough review and I was quite impressed at your perceptiveness about some of the elements I intentionally worked into the story. I even had someone tell me it was the "best review yet!" It sounds like the book lived up to the goals I had for it of being a fun, classic mystery that included diverse characters without being heavy handed with the disability aspect. For some background, my daughter has spina bifida and plays wheelchair basketball with the real life Charlotte Rollin' Hornets. And their varsity team just won #1st place in the National Championship the other weekend! Woo! So if you haven't heard of the Rollin' Hornets, check them out on Facebook! No Clues, You Lose is the first in a series, so keep your eye out for more Joey Jacobs mysteries. (The next one may be fun for horse-lovers as well.)

Carol Baldwin said...

I am so glad you liked Elliott's review. He did a super job. And thanks for the information about your own family. We look forward to r=hearing about the next book!

Grannyjo said...

Sounds like a great book for my older grandchildren. Having grown up a million years ago I never read anything about disabled children. How things have changed for the better.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Jo Lynn. I think this would be a welcome book in your family!

Robert Hilliard said...

I saw the author's post in a MG Facebook group and have been following along since its release. This is my first time coming across the blog and I loved the review. I have always struggled with all these adult reviews on MG books so I'm glad hear the intended audience enjoyed it. This story sounds fantastic and I can't wait to read it!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks so much for your comment! I wish you had left your name so I can enter you in the contest. I hope you return again for more book reviews and giveaways.

Unknown said...

This sounds like a terrific story! Thanks for reviewing it, Elliot!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Anyonmous! Next time, please leave your name!

Elliott Kurta said...

Thank you so much for continuing to support my reviews. I'm especially grateful for your praise, Annie Beth Donahue. Your words mean so much to me, and I'm very happy to hear that you liked my review.

Carol Baldwin said...

I'm glad your writing and reviewing skills are on display on my blog, Elliott!

Annie Beth Donahue said...

Hi Elliot! You're very welcome! I look forward to seeing more of your reviews in the future.

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