Scarlet and Ivy (Series #1-#5) - Sophie Cleverly
I reviewed the first book in this series a few months ago (linked below) - and immediately began the rest of the series!
The final book is coming out early 2019, but I've read everything out so far (I'll update this post once book 6 is out!)
I'll try and keep the spoilers as light on as possible, but no promises! Overall, this is a wonderful series for girls (and boys!) around 9+ who enjoy mystery and suspense.
#1 - The Lost Twin
5 out of 5 stars!
#2 - The Whisper in the Walls
Rookwood School is pretty crazy. We're up to evil principal #2 here! I definitely didn't enjoy this one as much - the first book is told from only Ivy's perspective, where as this one swaps between Ivy and Scarlet, and I often found it hard to remember which character I was reading. In short, Scarlet is a complete brat. We'd heard about her defiance and argumentative character in the first book, but I know I imagined that after her experiences she'd be changed.
There is discussion about Scarlet's anxiety and fear due to what she'd been through, and she does start to develop into a nicer person as the book progresses. The plot was similar to book one, but this was definitely more character driven as the girls navigated new friendships, alliances and rivalries.
3 out of 5 stars
#3 - Dance in the Dark
One of my students had borrowed my physical copy of this book so I listened to the audiobook. Although it's the same narrator for Scarlet and Ivy, I began to be able to differentiate between the two, and got The Parent Trap vibes. Scarlet is definitely still a frustrating protagonist, but the more wholesome Ariadne, Rose and Ivy overpower her overall. I do like that Scarlet does have to deal with the consequences of her trouble making. I feel like we get very used to characters either getting away with mischief, or if they aren't it's because they're in one of the "everything goes wrong for me but it's funny for the reader" stories.
4 out of 5 stars
#4 - The Lights Under the Lake
This is the first book in which we spend a decent amount of time away from Rookwood. But don't worry, there are plenty of mysteries to be solved anyway!
As a teacher, this series does make me laugh sometimes. There are so many moments that just make no sense - there's a student who just randomly lives in the school with seemingly no effort put in to find out if she has family (and since there's no one to give consent, shes allowed to go on camp for a week!), and then the teachers let people they've just met run excursions with the students (shockingly, this doesn't end well).
Having said all of that, I like that we get to know Rose's character better. I feel like Ivy becomes even stronger as a character, and yet Scarlet? Still so annoying!
4 out of 5 stars
#5 - The Curse in the Candlelight
This is definitely the darkest of the books so far. While the mysteries always keep you on the edge of your seat, in this book we're introduced to the new girl, Ebony. Everything about Ebony leads the girls of Rookwood to believe that she is heavily involved in witchcraft. There was definitely an extra creepy element to this plot line that I think could definitely be an issue for some younger readers. I did, however, really like the way this book focussed on how manipulative bullies can be, and how important true friendship is.
4 out of 5 stars
I can't recommend this series enough! Grab a copy of the first book to get started
*Book depository (cheapest!)