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Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite
Russian spies, cover-up stories, alien visits, alien artifacts, a teenage romance, and tarot cards are only some of the elements in The Tale of the Tarot by DJ Schneider. Mel, the protagonist, is only 15 years old and already had to deal with more than other teenagers. Not only has her dad been killed by a Russian spy because Russia wants to get their hands on some alien debris in her dad's possession, but she now is the one who needs to keep the material out of the wrong hands. In addition, a letter from her dad talks about another mystery. Mel makes a new friend, but also a new enemy. She learns that her own life is somehow connected to the stars. She and her friends want to find answers, but what can teenagers possibly do against the power of Russia and its government? It does not help that Mel's mother seems to lose her sanity, and her new caretaker seems to have more than just 'caring' in mind.
The Tale of the Tarot is book one in the Melanie Simpson Mystery Series by DJ Schneider and I am glad to know book one is not the end because the last few pages leave you with quite the cliffhanger! I found it quite interesting how characters were changing their attitudes within the story, i.e. how one went from some sort of friend to betrayer and then to a helper (can't say much more to avoid spoilers). You could never be sure who would be on which side and this added to the excitement factor. I also loved that the story takes place in an era of toll calls and letters. Mel's story would be so very different if it was set in a more modern time. All the characters were interesting and believable. The story felt authentic, by which I mean that it all made sense and you could imagine something like it happening. There were so many little details that all came together to create a fantastic story.