Release Date: September 12, 2017
The first book in this series meets its match as its sequel shines.
The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match by Elizabeth Eulberg picks up shortly after the first book with a new case for Watson and Shelby. With a new school year afoot, there’s also new classes, new friends, and new mysteries waiting to be solved. This time, a new teacher’s watch disappears and Watson and Shelby are on the case! However, Shelby’s skills are soon questioned after she makes a mistake that comprises the case.
I read an eARC of the first book in this series last year, and I enjoyed it despite a few issues, so I was excited when the second book appeared on NetGalley (see my review of the first book here). In the first book, I really liked the main character in this series, Watson, and the book’s unique take on a mystery frequent in middle grade novels. However, I didn’t like how difficult the clues were for younger readers and Shelby’s almost cartoonish personality. I was happy that the sequel contained elements I enjoyed from the first book, but also worked on areas that needed improvement from the first book.
I think the highlight of this series definitely remains within the main character. Watson is a great character who not only grows as a character throughout the novel, but serves as a great role model for readers. Sometimes in books, authors treat mental illnesses or medical conditions as a “quirk” instead of an issue that the character struggles with everyday. However, Elizabeth Eulberg doesn’t do this with Watson’s diabetes. Readers get a good picture of what it’s like to live with diabetes since it greatly affects the plot line. Additionally, Watson is an all-around good guy. After an incident in the novel, Shelby starts a rumor that Watson is the hero, not her, because she’s afraid it will hurt his ego. Watson, however, not only declares this untrue, but proceeds to tell everyone the truth that Shelby is the real hero. I like how Watson is confident in who he is as a person and doesn’t conform to traditional male stereotypes.
I also enjoyed Shelby’s character more in this novel. In the first novel, all of her behavior felt too cartoonish and there weren’t enough moments to see her as a multi-dimensional, real character. However, Shelby’s character grows tremendously throughout this novel since everything she believes about herself is questioned. Shelby learns that even though she is intelligent, she can still make mistakes. Additionally, she starts to rely more on other people for help which further develops her friendship with Watson and helps her express herself more emotionally. I liked how Shelby’s character grew throughout this novel because it showed she can be strong through her intelligence, but through her emotions as well.
As for the case in this novel, I have mixed feelings. One aspect of this case that I liked was there were more details that younger readers could point out so they would feel more involved in the case. Since Watson is learning to pick up clues better, younger readers have the opportunity to do this as well. On the other hand, this case didn’t seem as well though out as the case in the first novel and the mystery is solved about halfway through the novel. Since the case isn’t the main focus, however, readers see a lot more character development from the two main characters. Therefore, if you’re looking for a more intricate mystery, I’d look towards the first book. If you’re looking for more complex characters, I’d look towards the second book.
Overall, The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match is an enjoyable read with likable characters and a decent mystery. I would recommend this book for any fan of the first book or anyone looking for a cute middle grade mystery. I give The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match four out of five stars.
***I received this eARC via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.