Friday Barnes is currently my favourite girl detective. I first read this book in 2016 and my reread has been just as enjoyable. Friday is eccentric, extraordinarily smart and forthright.
Friday was named after the day on which she was born. Well, she would have been if it had actually been a Friday. She was really born on a Thursday but her ever distracted (and dare I say, neglectful) parents confused the days. Their minds were no doubt on quasars or electrons at the time. Don’t believe me? Friday’s older siblings are named Quantum, Quasar, Orion and Halley.
Friday essentially raised herself and until recently has spent most of her time in silence, reading anything she can get her hands on. Faced with the problem of needing to attend high school, despite passing the entrance exam to study medicine at university, eleven year old Friday elects to send herself to an elite boarding school. She pays for the tuition with the reward money she earned from solving the case of a missing multi-million dollar diamond.
Once she arrives at Highcrest Academy, Friday becomes known as the resident mystery solver, taking on cases of missing homework and the swamp yeti who has been terrorising the students.
‘Swamp yetis don’t exist.’
She also finds a potential nemesis/love interest and spends much more time sitting on the bench outside the Headmaster’s office than she does in a classroom.
‘Sometimes I wonder if you are startlingly gifted,’ said the Headmaster, ‘or you simply have access to some sort of illicit counter-intelligence mind-reading device.’
Occasionally she even needs to suck on a lollipop when she’s considering all of the variables of a problem, something she only does when she’s “processing a difficult conundrum.”
Despite Friday’s off the charts IQ, she’s not the best at picking up on social cues, although she is slowly getting better at detecting rhetorical questions. It’s lucky for her that her new roommate, Melanie Pelly, notices things that other people don’t.
‘My brain just does it. The hard part is getting it to notice things that are useful.’
Uncle Bernie, although he doesn’t have a great deal of page time in the first book, quickly became my favourite character. He appreciates Friday for who she is (brown cardigans and all) and is the only family member that appears to even notice her existence.
I’ve been planning a Friday Barnes binge for several years. With the release of the ninth book I’ve decided it’s finally time.
I would have adored this series as a kid and am having fun with them so far as an adult. I’ve yet to decide if Friday and I would have been best friends or mortal enemies if we were in the same class. Either way, I know I wouldn’t have been bored.
Beware: this book ends in a cliffhanger.
Once Upon a Blurb
Imagine if Sherlock Holmes was an eleven-year-old girl!
When girl detective Friday Barnes solves a bank robbery she uses the reward money to send herself to the most exclusive boarding school in the country, Highcrest Academy.
On arrival, Friday is shocked to discover the respectable school is actually a hotbed of crime. She’s soon investigating everything from disappearing homework to the Yeti running around the school swamp. That’s when she’s not dealing with her own problem – Ian Wainscott, the handsomest boy in school, who inexplicably hates Friday and loves nasty pranks.
Can Friday solve Highcrest Academy’s many strange mysteries, including the biggest mystery of all – what’s the point of high school?