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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Asbury High and the Parcels of Poison by Kelly Brady Channick is the second book in the Asbury High series. Carly, Maddie, Cornelious, and Pilot have a new mystery to solve that threatens to close their favorite hangout, could cost Pilot's mom her job, and is making everyone sick. The friends are excited when the Food Network takes an interest in their favorite place to eat – Brady's – and have no doubt that the restaurant is the best choice. Everything is going well until people start getting sick and everyone blames the cause of food poisoning on Brady's. The friends dig into the real cause before Brady's takes all the blame and is forced to shut down. With the help of Cornelious's cousin Dane, the friends take on the case with their opinions being ignored by the police who don't want to take their concerns seriously, and with added pressure from Cornelious's father who wants his son to maintain an ideal public image. The five friends are determined to solve the mystery before it's too late.
The friends dive headfirst into the mystery in the same way as classic sleuths and keep investigating even when no adults believe them. The mystery is like Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys with friends solving mysteries. Their lives as teenagers are woven throughout the story such as Pilot being jealous when someone seems to be flirting with Carly, and Dane and Maddie having chemistry between them, and a focus on the friendship between the four of them. The romantic relationships are a key element of the story with Pilot and Carly having some tension with jealousy on Pilot's end but the two have a solid friendship underneath as a base. Kelly Brady Channick builds a story that has a strong sense of community which roots the setting in this town and gives the teenagers a reason that ties them to their community. Ashbury High and the Parcels of Poison is a mystery aimed at young adults with a well-written premise, charming characters, strong friendships, and intriguing clues.