Parents or grandparents who grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys will know the utter thrill that comes from solving a gripping mystery within the dusty pages of a book. Although these readers can now find enjoyment in adult mysteries from the likes of James Patterson, Agatha Christie and Jo Nesbo, what about our new generation of little readers?
If you haven’t yet gotten your kids hooked on mysteries, there’s one series that trumps them all and serves as an incredible gateway into this beloved genre. She’s sassy, smart and above all, a great sleuth – we’re talking about Friday Barnes.
Who is Friday Barnes?
R.A. Spratt’s Friday Barnes series first kicked off in 2014, with 11-year-old Friday channelling the great Sherlock Holmes as she stumbles upon her very first mystery. After using her detective skills to solve a bank robbery, she uses the $50,000 reward money to bankroll an exclusive boarding school education. Things take a turn for the exciting when it’s revealed that her new school is positively rife with crime and mysteries just waiting to be solved. Plus, it’s where she’ll meet new people, hone her craft, and perhaps even befriend the handsomest boy in school . . .
How many Friday Barnes books are there?
If you haven’t yet entered Friday’s fantastic world, there are currently eight books to tackle, each one as thrilling as the next. Plus, Friday Barnes is back on 2 February with Friday Barnes: No Escape, the highly-anticipated ninth book in the series. Readers have been waiting over two years for the next installment in Friday’s tale, and we’re sure it won’t disappoint.
What makes Friday so special?
Well, we’re glad you asked! Friday Barnes is best described as Nancy Drew for the new generation – like Nancy, she’s courageous, resourceful and extremely intelligent. She’s also hilarious (or maybe that’s just author R.A. Spratt) and will have readers chortling along with her as the story progresses.
The series has been praised for its relatable and gentle look at first crushes, as in later books, Friday takes a shine to the school prankster, Ian Wainscott. Rather than feeling too grown up or featuring ‘insta-love’, Friday and Ian simply have a great friendship that evolves over the course of the books. Kids love this series and its main pairing so much that they’ve even taken to writing fanfiction about it! If that’s not a great way to encourage kids’ creativity, we don’t know what is . . .
Friday Barnes possesses all of the traits we love in a book’s protagonist. She’s strong, self-led, curious and always having fun. Maybe that’s why this incredible series has sold a whopping 170,000+ copies in Australia alone!
Who should read the Friday Barnes series?
Here’s the best bit – Friday Barnes has somewhat of a universal appeal. In book one, Friday is 11 years old, which might give you an indicator for the age range, but we’d recommend this series for kids anywhere between 8 and 14. Adults also love this series (just ask your school librarian!) due to R.A. Spratt’s witty writing style and ability to craft an immersive story. Plus, it’s proven to be a hit with all kinds of readers, as it’s funny, droll, captivating and includes a whole host of characters of different ages, genders and personalities.
Sue Warren says, “Thanks so much R. A. for bringing Friday back – you know how much we all love her – horrible brown cardigan, porkpie hat, quirky but smart and, above all, the kid you’d most want to have as your friend.”
Can you tell us about the latest Friday Barnes book?
Okay, okay – here’s a little sneak preview into Friday Barnes 9: No Escape. Spoilers ahead for the past books in the series! We pick up two years after the conclusion of the last book, and Friday is finally released from jail. She looks the same, but she feels totally different – in fact, she’s adamant that she’ll never solve another mystery if this is the kind of trouble it can get her in.
But, of course, that resolution doesn’t last very long. When Uncle Bernie rings in desperate need of her help, Friday’s whisked off to Florence, Italy, where she’ll be tasked with helping protect the Uffizi Galleries from art thieves. Oh, and did we mention Ian – Friday’s ex-boyfriend and now-nemesis – lives in Florence? Drama, danger and, of course, some very funny moments ensue.
Friday Barnes 9: No Escape hits shelves on 2 February 2021. Find this exciting new instalment in the Friday Barnes series at any good bookstore.