When we last saw Friday, she’d just survived four weeks at school camp. Waiting for her at Highcrest Academy were two of her siblings, Quasar and Orion. We’d previously heard about her four older siblings (the other two are called Quantum and Halley) but this is the first time we’ve met any of them.
The school year has just begun and Melanie and Ian are not looking forward to beginning Year 8 without Friday, who’s been studying in Switzerland at the best school in the world.
This year is the sesquicentennial (that’s the 150th anniversary, for all of you who aren’t Friday Barnes) of the school’s founder’s birth. In addition to the new meditation room that’s being constructed and the refurbishment of the exercise pool for the polo ponies, the previous Headmasters have been invited back to Highcrest Academy. They will be guest teaching for four weeks. As such, everyone is to be on their best behaviour.
‘There will be no mysteries!’ yelled the Headmaster. ‘I forbid it!’
While I always enjoy stories where kids go to camp, I missed the interaction with Highcrest Academy’s teachers in the previous book. I appreciated Mrs Cannon, the English teacher, quickly reminding me why I love her.
‘I never teach you anything because I’m lazy, and because I think it’s far better for you to figure it all out on your own. What’s the point in me telling you when you could learn for yourself?’
Not surprisingly, Friday quickly makes an impression with the four previous Headmasters, although it’s not a great one. There’s also mysteries to solve, including who is breaking into the school.
‘What on earth is she doing?’ asked Colonel Hallett.
‘Investigating,’ said the Headmaster. ‘Just wait, she’ll sniff something next.’
I was surprised that Ian didn’t know that Friday was returning to school, especially considering the fact that his mother is now married to Friday’s Uncle Bernie and he’s just spent the school holidays with them. Uncle Bernie would definitely have been kept in the loop. I’m finding it sadder and sadder that the rest of Friday’s family are so neglectful.
Friday found planets comforting, because unlike most of the people in her life, planets could be relied on to turn up at precise locations at predictable intervals.
At one point Melanie asks Ian if the Headmaster is asking a rhetorical question. Usually she’s the one identifying these for Friday so it’s inconsistent for her to be asking, unless she’s missing Friday so much at this point that she’s lost her ability to pick up on social nuances. Thankfully later in the book Melanie’s rhetorical question detection is back to normal.
Once Upon a Blurb
When four former headmasters arrive at Highcrest Academy to take part in the school’s anniversary celebrations, the students are warned to be on their best behaviour.
Unfortunately, no one told the headmasters to stay out of mischief too! Which means Friday Barnes soon has a case to solve. But unravelling the truth isn’t easy when the whole school is being forced to eat paleo because the cook is on a diet; her best friend’s brother won’t stop blubbering about the terrible boat accident he may or may not have caused; and Friday is being trailed by a mysterious admirer – or is it a stalker?
Can Friday find the facts among the mayhem? She’d better. The fate of Highcrest depends on it!