Robert B. Parker, author of the best-selling “Spenser” series, has finally plunged into the world of young-adult fiction with Edenville Owls. Set in a Massachusetts coastal town just after the end of World War II, it tells the story of 14-year-old Bobby, his basketball team, the Edenville Owls, and his new (and very pretty) teacher, Miss Delaney. Having witnessed his teacher fighting with a mysterious man, he soon finds himself uncovering clues and working towards solving the mystery with his friend, Joanie (a distraction to be sure). What follows is oft described as a coming-of-age story. As Bobby and his teammates battle on – and off – the court, they all find themselves drawn into finding out the identity of the mystery man.
Given Parker’s reputation, it’s hardly surprising to have such a well-crafted story with insightful characters. Fans of his Spenser novels could almost find themselves fighting the feeling that they’re reading a story from the famed detective’s youth. His incredible talent for setting a scene shines as always – one can almost smell the ocean and hear big-band music in the background – and his characters seem wise beyond their years. It’s so well-done, in fact, that one can practically hear the cameras rolling!
Intended for readers aged 12 and above, Parker fans would definitely enjoy Edenville Owls. The intended readers, however, could easily overlook this little gem as a quiet period piece. Hopefully, they’ll find it in later years after they’ve devoured his other books.