After the sudden death of her grandfather, Theodora Tenpenny does not know what to do. Between her crazy French neighbor, her unstable mother, and the dwindling money, she has a lot to worry about. One day when cleaning the house, Theodora discovers a painting hidden behind one of her grandfather’s paintings. The only problem is that Theodora’s grandfather once worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And they just reported a missing painting. Is the painting stolen? Is it a famous painting that is worth a lot of money? Or is it a fake? With the help of her new friend Bodhi, Theodora will attempt to uncover secrets that will change her perspective on her world.
The mystery will keep readers on their toes and rooting for Theodora to solve the mystery. Yet the mystery’s resolution happens by chance. After rooting for Theo and Bodhi to succeed in accomplishing their mission, the story’s resolution feels like a let down. Fitzgerald eventually explains the circumstances behind the mystery and brings the story to a satisfying conclusion. However, this reader wanted Theo to succeed independently. This speaks to the author’s ability to create relatable characters that readers will connect to and become invested in.
For readers who loved Chasing Vermeer or Dan Brown’s series of books/movies, Under the Egg will prove to be a great choice. The history that is described in the book makes the novel a good choice for both boys and girls. The author also provides other resources to go to if the art and history subjects spark an interest in readers.
Fitzgerald’s strength in creating stories that are relatable to middle grade readers makes Under the Egg a successful story that readers will enjoy. Pick up a copy from the NBIS library to discover the mystery for yourself.
Does it have a Young Adult label?: No
Recommended if you like stories with: realistic fiction, history, art, paintings, mystery, unexpected friends, summer adventures, New York City, family secrets, old houses, chickens
Favorite Quote: “The mystery was always bigger than just me. Somehow, along the way, I had become part of the city. And it had become part of me.”