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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.