The spreadsheet Midnight uses to organise her time is especially cluttered at the moment. Her life would be busy if she only had to think about school and preparations for her mother’s upcoming Viking wedding. Now she also needs to psych herself up for her first date (eep!) with her crush, Logan. Then there’s the Agency of Spectral Protection work that she and her best friend, Tabitha, do.
There’s never any shortage of spectral energy in Berry, Midnight’s home town, and Midnight is one of the few people who can see it. But with so much spectral energy around, there’s also more potential for the Black Stream, which is what happens when spectral energy becomes trapped in objects, becoming a dark force known as planodiume.
When strange robberies involving planodiume begin to occur around Berry, Midnight’s life gets even busier. If Midnight and Tabitha can’t solve these crimes then everyone in Berry could be in danger.
“This is a Code Black”
My favourite character in this series is Tabitha, who always wears black and knows the town cemetery better than she does her own home. I’m also a pretty big fan of Midnight’s future stepfather, Phil, who loves Vikings as much as he loves Midnight’s mother. Phil didn’t have a huge part in this book but he endeared himself to me so much in the first book that my love for him carried over into this one.
Adult readers of this series may need to ignore the red flags that wave furiously each time twelve year old Midnight is allowed to galavant around the town at all hours, working for a super secret organisation. They will also have to squish down the qualms they have about said super secret organisation hiring twelve year olds to undertake potentially dangerous work for them without parental permission. I suggest locking up your adult brain and simply enjoying the adventure as it unfolds.
Although you could potentially read this book without having read ‘Midnight Reynolds and the Spectral Transformer’, I would definitely recommend reading them in order. There are some major first book spoilers in this one and it’s possible the whole spectral energy thing may be slightly fuzzy if you weren’t there with Midnight when she first encountered it.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Albert Whitman & Company for the opportunity to read this book. I’m keen to read the next book in the series.
Midnight Reynolds and the Agency of Spectral Protection by Catherine Holt is the second book in the Midnight Reynolds series. I do recommend reading the series in order, as it will help explain some of the connections and background. Although I do think a determined reader could catch on.
Twelve-year-old Midnight Reynolds has a huge secret—she’s a spectral protector, someone who helps ghosts cross over into the afterlife. Alongside her best friend Tabitha, Midnight is busy juggling the wilds of middle school with her undercover ghost-hunting job. When mysterious and dangerous robberies start happening in their small town, all signs point to some sort of spectral manipulation, and Midnight’s boss asks her to take over the investigation. Can Midnight find the culprit and stop them before the spectral energy endangers their town?
Midnight Reynolds and the Agency of Spectral Protection is a mystery and coming of age story that works well as part of a series. Midnight is still trying to find her balance, working to solve the mysteries of the spectral enhanced robberies while her mother plans a wedding, her sister dates a new guy, and her own social life continues to become more complicated. I like how the social and personal growth for Midnight and her family is just as important as the mystery of who is staging the robberies. Nothing is in story as filler, it is all important to the growth of the characters and the forward movement of the story. While I do not know any kids running around dealing with spectral energy, but I do know many that are (or have) gone through the struggles of balancing different parts of their lives and wanting to be perfect in every separate moment. I really enjoyed the ride, and while I had my suspicions with the mystery, I loved the way it played out and how the characters dealt with all of the challenges they faced.
Midnight Reynolds and the Agency of Spectral Protection is a wonderful follow up to the first book in this series. I cannot wait to see what Midnight and crew get involved in next.
Sweet, funny, and fast-moving, this is a great title for kids who like their mysteries with a dash of creepiness but stop well short of horror. An easy title to hand-sell to my younger patrons!
Midnight and Tabitha are a team. Even though they are only twelve, for the past six months they have been working with the Agency of Spectral Protection, ASP, to release trapped spectral energy. After witnessing a spectacular robbery, ASP requests the two to investigate the situation. They soon realize that this case is far beyond what was covered in their training. They forge ahead none the less.
This is a fun middle school story. It involves two friends who are trying to stay under the radar at school and home when they are carrying out work for ASP. Both use different approaches to keeping life and work separated and now they have added dating into the ix. Midnight and Tabitha appear quite different, they they understand each other and work together well. They have turned their differences into assets. Did I mention the vikings and ray gun.
I enjoyed this story, but wish I had read Midnight Reynolds and the Spectral Transformer, the first book in the series, before hand.
I received and advanced reader copy of this book from Albert Whitman and Company and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Awkward Premise; Engaging Characters
The premise here is a bit labored. Our heroine, Midnight, is a twelve year old who works for the Agency of Spectral Protection, (ASP). It turns out that ghosts, (spectral emanations), are good guys who just sometimes need to be helped into the Stream on their way to the Afterglow. ASP, through undercover agents like Midnight, helps them find their way, especially if they get trapped in some inanimate object. Easy Peasy. But, bad guys can draw spectral power from the Stream and it becomes concentrated and then turns into evil stuff called "planodiume", which makes the bad guys crazy bad, messes up the Stream, traps innocent ghosts, and generally causes havoc. As you might guess, in these books, (this is the second), Midnight never gets to do just the easy stuff, and keeps coming up against planodiume stoked villains.
Now, there are lots of books about kids who interact with and either fight or help ghosts, depending on which type of ghost book the author is writing. Most of those books have some sort of society that the kid is inducted into, which allows for plot exposition and the like. You get that here in spades. It takes a few chapters for what I summarized above to become clear, but if a reader is patient it is all eventually explained and filled in. The question is how much patience will your reader have?
I was not particularly drawn to this premise because it seemed awfully busy and was neither really serious nor intentionally goofy, but rather just needlessly complicated. That said, I kept reading because of the characters, the surprisingly snappy dialogue and amusing asides and bits of business, and some secondary storylines that were ambitious and interesting.
Our heroine is steadfast, diligent and responsible. She's just fine in a vulnerable/competent way and her style is fine for a middle grade heroine. Her sidekick, Tabitha, a Goth-ish sort, is funny, loosey-goosey and free spirited in a good way, and both reliable and supportive. So they make an excellent team, and make the book appealing just in a girls'-own adventure, buddy-cop sort of way. They do research and investigate and lurk and so on, and the book is spirited and fun whenever it focuses on the two of them just doing their thing.
The parents of the girls are a little goofy but dependable and grown-up, which is a nice change from the clueless sorts you often see. There's some school drama that adds a bit of spice but is restrained. There's some crushing on a guy who ends up sort of on the team, but that was fresh and understated and felt pretty authentic. As a bonus there is running conflict between Midnight and her older sister and this ends up being very important to the tale and surprisingly resolved. There's a lot of gratuitous sibling conflict in books at this level, and it was a pleasure to see that the rivalry had a point and went somewhere in this book.
So, I wasn't taken by the action plot, which plays out fairly predictably, but the process by which our two heroines navigate to the big perilous and suspenseful climax was fun and engaging, and so I ended up coming around on this mainly for its buddy-action-comedy appeal. An interesting choice.
(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Such a fun series for middle grade readers! In this second book, Midnight and her friend Tabitha must protect the town from mysterious robberies that are spectral in nature and causing excessive rain and could cause much worse problems for the town and it's people and possibly ruin Midnight's mother's plans for an outdoor viking themed wedding. Mystery, friendship, and a little bit of romance make this book a wonderfully fun read!
I adored this cute paranormal detective series! I doesn't realize until I for a ways into it that this was actually not the first in the series. I want to read the others but this one can definitely stand on its own. Midnight and her best friend are hilarious and I love that the story has a ton of different elements to it. It's not just a kids detective story, it also deals with bullying, trust, honesty, and when to trust your instincts over what an adult tells you and that's just what I thought of off the top of my head. While there's a tiny bit of violence, it's more in the line of peril, not gory at all and safe for kids to read. Overall, I'd definitely recommend this series, especially if you want one to read to your kids since adults will be entertained as well.
I would like to thank the publisher, author, and Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.