I recommend this book for: grades 5-9
What do you get when you mix Eastern European royalty, a secret city below the streets of New York, a band of rogue girl scouts, and a little espionage? You get the Irregulars, a band of very talented young women led by the mysterious, elf-like Kiki Strike.
Ananka Fishbein has more brains than she knows what to do with and is an outsider at her exclusive private school. Life gets interesting for her when she sees a city park collapse to reveal an underground room, and a mysterious figure fleeing from it. With a mystery to solve, Ananka starts to seek out answers and finds the Shadow City, a complicated network of tunnels and rooms that were a haven for thieves, smugglers, and undesirables of every variety in New York's history. When she meets Kiki Strike and is offered the chance to explore the Shadow City and possibly find wealth beyond her wildest dreams, Ananka finds it difficult to say no. But is Kiki really who she says she is, or does she have a more sinister purpose than any of the Irregulars could guess?
This was a very fun, fast-moving book. It requires a lot of suspension of disbelief - many of the young characters are either too smart or too evil for even adolescent girls - but the storyline is compelling and exciting. I loved Ananka's narration, particularly when she gave out tidbits such as this:
The Boy Scouts were onto something when they advised their members to "Be Prepared." They understood that those who prepare will prevail. Why they chose not to share that bit of wisdom with their sister organization is anyone's guess. Maybe they couldn't handle the competition (83).Ananka also gives out handy lists of tips for girls embarking on their own adventures, such as "How to Care for an Injured Colleague", "How to Foil a Kidnapping", and "How to Be a Master of Disguise." Major fun, with a serious dose of girl power.
How to Read Reviews of a Fabulous Book.