Kassy O'Rourke, Cub Reporter

Children - Mystery
216 Pages
Reviewed on 10/01/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite

Kassy O’Rourke, Cub Reporter is an entertaining children’s mystery story by Kelly Oliver. Twelve-year-old Kassy (named after Kassandra in Greek mythology) has big plans to win an award by writing the best story in her school newspaper so she can impress her dad, who has recently broken up with her mom. She wants her parents back together. When a cougar cub goes missing from her mother’s petting zoo, Kassy finds the story is right under her nose. But first, she’ll need to navigate a number of disasters, escape from a scary shed, learn the truth about her brother’s involvement, and get the help of some friends to save the day and find the cougar before Agent Pinkerton Killjoy shuts down the petting zoo.

Kassy O’Rourke, Cub Reporter is a whole lot of fun and delivers in every way an adventure story should. The twists and turns in the mystery are clever and unpredictable, and the sprinkled references to Star Wars and Greek mythology give a distinctive quirky flavor to the book. Kassy’s first-person voice bubbles throughout as sassy, down-to-earth, and delightfully frank about how she feels. An aspect I found especially endearing was how Kassy’s solving of the pet mystery led her into a better understanding of the people around her. Her new sister’s development into a friend added a lot of complexity towards the end of the story—as did Butler and his older brother Oliver, two lively boys who came in handy whenever Kassy needed them. Kelly Oliver builds more than a detailed mystery. She also creates a heartwarming world populated with believable characters who feel like people you know.

Jack Magnus

Kassy O'Rourke, Cub Reporter: Kassy O’Rourke, Pet Detective, Book 1 is an adventure mystery novel for children and preteens written by Kelly Oliver. Kassy’s initial excitement at seeing her name in print for the first time in the newest issue of her school newspaper, The Cub Reporter, was dampened as she feverishly pored over each page looking for her story and failed to find it. Finally, there it was -- on the very last page. Turning back to page one, she grimly noted that Kelly Finkelman’s story had been given pride of place. What was it with Kelly anyway? What was the big deal about her?

Kelly Oliver’s adventure mystery novel is an action-packed and exciting coming-of-age story about a middle-schooler whose little brother talks to animals and whose veterinarian mom runs a petting zoo with Kassy’s help. Oliver’s young protagonists, Kassy and her little brother Crispy, are complex and infinitely interesting to learn about. While journalism seems her current dream, Kassy’s skills at deduction and gift for analytical thinking make her stand out as a young Sherlock Holmes, ever ready with tweezers and a magnifying glass to ferret out clues in the most unlikely places. Speaking of ferrets, Crispy’s best friend and constant companion, Freddy the ferret, adds a brilliant touch and no little bit of comedic relief to the story. Seeing how they and their mom cope with life after dad left is skillfully and empathetically dealt with by the author. The plot is engaging and fun as Kassy attempts to make sense of a number of clues to find a missing cougar cub before animal control does. Kassy O'Rourke, Cub Reporter is well-written and likely to entertain both animal and mystery lovers of all ages. It’s most highly recommended.

Kristen Van Kampen (Teen Reviewer)

Kassy O’Rourke, Cub Reporter by Kelly Oliver is a fun, middle-grade book about a young girl named Kassy who yearns to write a front-page article for the school paper and win an award. When the mountain lion cub named Apollo goes missing from her family's petting zoo, her brother claims that it is finally her scoop for her news article. They begin to search for clues that will lead them to Apollo and his kidnapper, and at last, her brother finds a typed note with a riddle. This takes them on a wild goose chase as they find more and more clues. But when they reach the final destination, where they could tell Apollo had been previously, he isn't there. Where is Apollo? Who kidnapped him? What is Kassy going to do?

I really enjoyed reading Kassy O’Rourke Cub Reporter by Kelly Oliver. The book is great fun, with its underpants-wearing animals and its unique “cuss words” like "Shih Tzu puppy." I loved Kassy’s perspective because it is full of funny thoughts and views. The book contains many memorable characters, like Flatulent Freddie, the farting ferret. The characters are all likable and realistic and have problems that readers will be able to relate to. The book is action-packed and filled with exciting scenes. I was hooked by the first page and enjoyed the entire story. The plot has twists and turns and is sure to keep readers on their toes as they read it. I love that the ending was happy but also leaves the reader wondering what happens next. I would definitely recommend this book to readers.