Book Review: BREAKING NEWS by Frank Morelli

…Yeah, I’m not even going to attempt to explain my absence. Instead, we’re going to hop right on into today’s review: BREAKING NEWS by Frank Morelli.

“I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Thus begins BREAKING NEWS, an epic middle-grade whodunnit told by 2 rival reporters and the junior sleuth tasked to solve the crime and bring the culprit to justice.

When $1,000 is stolen from a school fundraiser at the Ridgeway Arts & Technical School (known by its students as the RAT), Ridgewood Roar reporter Anthony ‘Tony’ Ravello vows to follow the case every step of the way… except he also finds himself embroiled in a battle with rival reporter Liberty ‘Libby’ Lennon, editor of a new indie ‘zine, the Rebel Yell. Meanwhile, Hunter Jackson, head of the student council, has been tasked with figuring out which student stole the money and bringing them to justice… along with any and all accomplices. (Plot twist! Dun dun dunnnnn!)

I loved how the story was written using primary sources: through journal entries (both written and audio) and news articles from Tony and Liberty and through investigation logs from Hunter. It gave us insight into our three sleuths while also letting readers solve the case alongside them.

What was also interesting was the subtly included commentary on journalistic integrity, with articles from both reporters featuring wildly different versions of the same events until they ultimately decide to work together to take down the thief. It definitely rang true to the journalism of today, with rival “news sources” (and I use that term loosely) spinning the narrative of certain events to fit their agendas and fuel the rumor mill.

BREAKING NEWS is also funny — I frequently found myself laughing out loud at some of the journal entries. The humor was witty and spot-on.

Overall, BREAKING NEWS is a fun, smart mystery perfect for upper middle grade/lower YA readers.

FINAL RATING: 5 News-Breaking Sporks