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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Mystery at Moz Hollow by A.K. Hicks is a charming adventure set in the Minnesota wilderness with a fun scavenger hunt and mystery that allows Emma to get a look into the past. Emma and her best friend Laura tag along with Emma's mother for a catering event at the stunning Moz Hollow estate. Emma is eager to explore and spend time with her best friend as long as it keeps her occupied from grieving over her late dad and keeping her mom from finding out that she's not doing well in school. Moz Hollow provides the perfect escape to stay distracted after she discovers a scavenger hunt that was never finished and revolves around a menu from decades ago. Emma and Laura make a new friend in Raza, who quickly joins in on their plan to finish the scavenger hunt that they learn could be connected to an actual treasure. In doing so, they face off against dangers in the wilderness in an epic journey.
This is a dazzling story that raises the bar for children's mysteries and serves as a fun introduction to the genre for younger readers. While the scavenger hunt is a way for Emma to distract herself from her problems, the journey allows her to confront her problems and work through them by learning to be honest about her feelings. The scavenger hunt creates a fun mystery that pairs well against the stunning background of the Minnesota wilderness full of natural dangers and plenty of moose for them to encounter. The setting is part of what brings the story to life as A.K. Hicks flawlessly captures the beauty and magic of the Minnesota wilderness. Friendship is an important element within the story with Laura reaching all friendship goals by being a person of solace and trust for Emma while also being the ideal partner in the scavenger hunt. Raza is a new friend they make who adds a new component to the girls' dynamic, giving them an ally who lives in the area to help them with their search. The Mystery at Moz Hollow is a charming and captivating adventure that serves as the perfect foray into the mystery genre for younger readers.