You know those books you see in your school libraries and think, 'I really need to check that out'? That was Friday Barnes for me. It looked like it could have either been a real winner for the clever girls in my class, or a bit of a wimpy let down.
..... It was the former, not the latter!!
For a short book, this packs a major punch. The vocabulary is of a high level - I even found myself thinking about a few words! It gives the impression of a 'this is just for girls book' (I blame the cover art and the subheading of 'girl detective' rather than the content!) when in fact it's very neutral and would appeal to a whole range of students.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars! I immediately bought the next two books in the series
Age Suggestion: 9-15 years. I say this as a 28-year-old who loved it though.
Ability Level: For primary school, it's definitely for your more advanced readers. As previously mentioned, the vocabulary is quite varied and will require assistance for kids without that high level of knowledge.
Content Notes: Friday watches reality TV and makes comments about the actors "canoodling". There are a couple of other moments where some level of basic intimacy is implied (not with characters, but adults etc.), but it would go over most kids heads. I read the "canoodling" page with a student recently in Grade 4 who didn't bat an eyelid, but it may cause questions for other students.
In conclusion, if you're looking for a challenging book for some of the advanced girls (or boys, but good luck getting them to choose this cover!) in your class, this is definitely a great one!