As a young reader, mysteries were my go to reads for years. Nancy Drew, Trixie Beldon even the Hardy Boys were my companions. When I was invited to red Asbury High and the Thief’s Gamble, I jumped at the opportunity to meet a new “gang of friends” who worked together to solve mysteries in their hometown. Scroll down to see what I thought about this book.

Asbury High and the Thief’s Gamble: (Asbury High YA Cozy Mystery Series) by Kelly Brady Channick

1st in Series

Published February 3rd 2020 by Purple Milk Publishing

Paperback: 260 pages

About the Book: Asbury, although a haven to shoobies (tourists) in the summer, is a divided coastal town. With the rich half living in the East, and the rest living in the West, most friendships stay within their boundaries. Luckily for a spunky-smart tomboy, a clever billionaire athlete, a gossipy-in-the-know cheerleader, and a wrong side of the tracks technological genius, boundaries are a foreign concept. In fact, Maddie, Cornelious, Carly and Pilot have been Asbury’s strongest quartet for years, despite their vast differences.

Nevertheless, after a few weeks of starting high school, the foursome’s friendship is tested.

After a string of burglaries in East Asbury, the gang decides to solve the crime as a reason to make time for each other. The further they investigate, the more they find themselves constantly side-stepping tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum-like policemen, outsmarting local bully JB and his gang of misfits, and dealing with Cornelious’ billionaire father and Governor—who has disapproved of his son’s choice of friends for years. In addition to these obstacles, the foursome must also adapt to their evolving friendship with each other and their peers.

With upperclassmen, teachers, and teammates vying for their attention, the gang must work even harder to root out the red-herrings from the true thief. Aided by Carly’s gossip, Maddie’s boldness, Cornelious’ quick-wit, and Pilot’s knack for technology, the gang soon discovers its edge over the local police department.

4.5 Stars:

Kelly Brady Channick’s story, Asbury High and the Thief’s Gamble, is a wonderful YA mystery where four best friends solve a string of burglaries. Asbury is a seaside town that is economically segregated. The rich live in East Asbury, while everyone else lives in West Asbury. The richest family in town, the Gibbz, have son Cornelius. He is a rebel to his mega-rich, governor father and is best friends with Carly, also from a rich family, as well as Maddie and Pilot from the wrong side of town. They met in the second grade and now Freshman at Asbury High, his dad is still trying to get him to find “more acceptable” friends. When the story starts we meet the friends and learn about them, their interests and activities as well as some of the hardships they deal with from other students. Despite the stress of starting freshmen year of high school, Maddie, Cornelius, Carly and Pilot make time to discover evidence, narrow down suspects and plan how to solve the burglaries occurring in East Asbury. Maddie has some extra motivation for her investigation. Will the police take 15 year olds seriously? Will anyone talk to them when they are investigating?

When I began reading the book, I was a bit worried as it seemed it was more about highschool life and friendship, but after about 25%, the mystery kicked in and the fun began. At first the group wanted to solve the mystery for something to do, but things became personal for Maddie, and she dove in with gusto. There were not a lot of suspects, so everyone, including the police were stumped. The group did uncover a few pieces of evidence and figure out some things that the police did not, but they were not sure what to do with it. The author skillfully dropped some clues and some red herrings, although I did figure out most of who was involved, although there was more. The final twist at the end was fun and I enjoyed how the group put the pieces together to solve the full mystery. I recommend this book to young mystery lovers, but I also enjoyed this story as it brought back some great memories. I am looking forward to what is next for Carly, Maddie, Pilot and Cornelius in Asbury. Thanks to Great Escapes Tours for my copy of this book. The rating, ideas, and opinions shared are my own.

Purchase Links: B & NAmazon 

About the Author: For as long as she could remember, Kelly Brady Channick loved making up stories and leaving her listeners/readers on the edge of their seats.

Perhaps that’s why she always managed to talk herself out of trouble…

After graduating from NJ’s own Ocean City High School, Kelly accepted a basketball scholarship to Holy Family University, in Philadelphia. As a lifelong athlete, Kelly understands the importance of teamwork and overcoming adversity, something she hopes translates into her books.

Before writing page-turners, she taught first, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade — like a dessert menu, she simply had to test them all out. But her favorite job is the one she’s now doing full time: writing. Kelly loves to craft whodunit mysteries, leading readers through various twists and turns filled with red-herrings, hidden clues, and more peculiar characters than a reality show.

Kelly lives in South Jersey with her handsome husband, energetic baby boy, two cookie-stealing dogs, and an awfully smart cat.