To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson
These books are just so much fun. Completely unrealistic in many ways (no middle school like this one exists in the country), but still so much fun. They are exactly the sort of adventures MG kids like-ones where kids their age are smart, capable, and working against the forces that control their lives. It is empowering. There is a really great friendship story in this one as Jackson and Charlie are having some difficulties. I like the way that played out and was resolved (that IS realistic). I really loved the developing relationship between Jackson and Gaby too. Jackson's nervousness over kissing Gaby is incredibly adorable and hilariously entertaining as well. Fans of the first book will definitely want to read this follow-up.
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
I like that this book exists for the teens I know who will eat it up like candy. Time traveling pirates is a concept that sells itself and I already have several people in mind who I know will really enjoy this one. It did not work for me as a personal read however. It is incredibly predictable and the character development is shallow. The world building is not the best either. I really wanted to love this one so was pretty disappointed and underwhelmed by the whole experience.
I read an ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.
The Poe Estate by Polly Shulman
This is a fun ghost story. The main characters are likeable and the adventure and mystery aspects of the plot make it a fast paced read. I enjoyed how the ghost aspect was handled especially. I didn't like it quite as much as I have the other books in the series, but it was fun seeing the characters I loved from the previous two books and being back at the Repository. I fell like what separates this from the other two is that the writing wasn't quite as strong. The dialogue felt very forced. I do like the interesting twist the collecting took in this one and how it went beyond mere objects.