Friday Barnes #8: Never Fear – R.A. Spratt

Things are changing at Highcrest Academy. There’s a new Headmaster, which made no sense to me when I learned about them towards the end of the last book. Sure, the previous Headmaster is currently recovering from a medical emergency but I didn’t think there was any way they would voluntarily retire.

It’s not that they love their job or having to deal with Friday, who’s fairly consistently sitting on the bench outside their office. It’s because their gambling addiction hasn’t left them with enough money to be able to retire. This apparent inconsistency is explained in this book.

That wasn’t the only thing that was odd about the last book, or this one for that matter. I don’t remember Friday getting hit on the head once in either book. That’s so un-Friday-like.

It’s not long into the new Headmaster’s reign before Friday is transferred from Year 8 to Year 12. This means she will be finishing high school in a matter of months, not years. Highcrest Academy is her home and Melanie, her best friend, is the closest thing she has to family (other than Uncle Bernie). She can’t imagine her life without either and is certain the new Headmaster is just trying to get rid of her. After all, it doesn’t seem as though Dr Belcredi is a fan of Friday.

‘It’s amazing how often you’re the one who find the problems that no-one else notices are there.’

‘I’m just observant,’ said Friday.

‘You’re a trouble-magnet,’ said Dr Belcredi.

Melanie has a boyfriend now, although in the last book he was her stalker. I’m not loving that stalking is portrayed as romantic.

There’s the mystery of the missing toilet paper, unexpected cake and the entire student body are sleeping in tents. The big mystery, even though it felt forgotten for part of the book, was the possibility of gold hidden somewhere at Highcrest Academy.

There chiselled into the sandstone, just visible under years of lichen and dirt were the words:

LATET INTUS IN AURUM

‘That’s Latin. It means “the gold lies within”,’ said Friday. ‘I always assumed it was a metaphor for a student’s potential, but maybe it literally means gold.’

A couple of minor inconsistencies didn’t make sense to me.

Shortly before Friday pulled the fire alarm we were told it was an hour before dinner and as such classes had finished for the day. Two pages later we learn that no one was scared when they evacuated because it meant they were getting “an afternoon off class”.

Friday reminds us she isn’t good at noticing changes to people’s physical appearance when Mirabella wails about the conspiracy to make her fat, yet in the last book Friday specifically mentioned another character losing 15 kilos.

I was glad that Malcolm had a role to play in this book and the new Headmaster, who I hated at first sight because I didn’t want the old Headmaster to be gone, grew on me towards the end. I loved that Binky had so much page time; he’s always adorable.

If my series binge had gone ahead as planned several years ago I would have been extremely disappointed with how this book ended. It seemed like it was the final book in the series when it was published and so much was left up in the air. Thankfully I have the ninth book on hand and I’ve already had a sneak peek at the end so I know there’s going to be a tenth.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Friday’s time at Highcrest is running out!

The new headmaster is turning everything upside down. Friday’s irritatingly high IQ has her fast-tracked to graduation, while a pair of incriminating pants puts Ian on the rocky road to expulsion.

When a rumour emerges of embezzled gold stashed on the school grounds, Friday is determined to uncover the truth. But some big questions remain: Can she stay out of detention long enough to solve the mystery? How will Melanie survive without Friday to tell her what class she’s in? And will Friday ever get that first kiss with Ian?

With implosions and explosions everywhere, Friday Barnes will have to use her head and get a grip on her beating heart in order to find the gold that lies within.

3 thoughts on “Friday Barnes #8: Never Fear – R.A. Spratt

  1. Pingback: Book Haul – March 2021 – Schizanthus Nerd

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