Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave, by Deron R. Hicks, was published in 2012 by Houghton Mifflin.
An ancient riddle etched into the frame of a family portrait. Rumors of a hidden family treasure. A string of unexplained accidents and mishaps. These are Colophon Letterford’s only clues to a mystery that is threatening to destroy her family. Time is running out, and she will need more than book-smarts to unearth secret passageways and to brave locked mausoleums by moonlight. Will Colophon solve the mystery of her family’s fortune and rewrite the pages of literary history? Will she discover the link between her family and Shakespeare’s tomb—before it’s too late?
Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave is one of those books that for the most part feels like it could actually take place, but then occasionally a nonsensical event pops up that completely divorces the book from reality. It also gets really over the top and overdramatic at some parts, like when Colophon and Julian have a “Let go!” “I WILL NOT LET GO!” moment that seemed like something out of a bad action movie.
I found it hard to enjoy Case’s part of the book when everything that happened made no sense. It was supposed to be silly, I suppose, but that particular brand of silliness stopped working for me a long time ago and just cheapens the book, in my opinion. It really just made the book faux-realistic to the point where I stopped enjoying it. If the book I’m reading is supposed to be taking place in the world I’m living in right now, then I like it to actually make sense with that world rather than throw in things like really quirky authors (something that fell flat in The Fault in Our Stars for me as well) and hand-waving “because chemistry!” bits.
However, the puzzle aspect of it was pretty interesting and made me want to watch National Treasure (which I did). I do like books with adventure quests. This one just had too many silly moments for me.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic, Mystery
Mull slumped in his chair. The three delivery persons simply stared at him.
“Are you—?” the first delivery girl started to ask again.
“No, my dear girl, I am not Roger Scornsbury,” replied Mull. “The gentleman that just left the restaurant was Mr. Scornsbury.”
“Odd bird, isn’t he,” the delivery girl said to no one in particular.
“Yes,” Mull replied dejectedly, “odd indeed.”
Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave could have been an enjoyable adventure/puzzle quest, but was marred by too many odd, overdramatic, and downright nonsensical events that threw me out of the book. Younger readers might enjoy the silliness, but I’m not a fan.
You can buy this here: Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave