Cover Image: The Secret Notebook

The Secret Notebook

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Member Reviews

I really did want to love this. 

I love stories about normal kids who somehow end up with a valuable possession and have to go on an adventure because of it. So, when I heard about this book, I was quite excited about it. 

Unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me. I found the characters to be very childish (which I guess is a weird complaint when talking about a children’s book). More childish that most characters I’ve read in other kid’s books tend to be. And the story just didn’t hold my attention. 

However, I can see where kids and other people would really enjoy this kind of story, so I would recommend to people who enjoy spy adventures. 

Perfect for fans of Disney’s KIM POSSIBLE.
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It was a cute and fast story. I think it would probably most appeal to the lower end of middle grade.
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This was a super cute, Nancy Drew sleuth type novel. I loved Riley and her friends. I wanted to keep reading from the first page.
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I received an e-arc from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Riley Green is a Nikola Tesla fanatic. She really also likes inventions and mysteries. One day, her teacher experiences a vandalism and Riley is ready to solve the mystery. She, however, finds a notebook in her backpack that seemingly belonged to Nikola Tesla. Could that be why someone vandalized her teacher’s classroom?

I really enjoyed the mystery of this novel! It was a pretty quick read but kept me entertained the whole time and guessing who was behind the vandalism and death threats. It is very much a fast-paced and easy to read mystery. I will definitely look forward to more books by D.A. D’Aurelio in the future.
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Witty, fun and action packed with mystery. Exactly my type.

This is a great book for those who are wanting to get into reading the mystery genre. It has intrigue, endearing characters and an underlying historical story that really cements it in the real world.

I liked the loyal friendship aspect that really shone through the entire story from start to finish. Thanks to NetGalley.
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A BIG Thank You to Netgalley and Capstone Editions for providing me with an advanced reader’s copy of “The Secret Notebook” for my review.

I loved reading this book! I love reading about science, technology and history, and loved how the author included it in the plot. Moreover, I was not really familiar with Nikola Tesla, so I was completely engrossed in reading this book. I really enjoyed how the author incorporates Tesla’s researches into the mystery plot. It is always fun to read stories where real life is mixed with fiction that makes the book more interesting. The author also provides a nice summary of the scientist’s real life in the end. This made me want to research and read more about him.

Moving to the characters, I really liked Riley as the main character. It was unique to see a protagonist in a middle grade novel become a criminologist. Similarly, I really liked how the author made the profession of a criminologist sound interesting and not morbid. Also, I liked Riley’s invention and how she came up with ideas to solve the mystery (even if they were not good sometimes). Charlotte, Henry and even Freddy are wonderful as supporting characters. I especially liked Freddy a lot and thought he was hilarious and goofy. It was a bit strange how quickly Charlotte becomes close friends with Riley almost immediately. But I ended liking Charlotte a lot too, so I’m not complaining.

Overall, I really hope this book turns out to be the first in the series! To be honest, I can see a lot of potential for new adventures with Riley and her friends. I think this is a wonderful book that would encourage younger readers to get interest in science and dip into history of famous scientists.
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My 8yo daughter was very excited to read an advanced copy of this book! Here is her review:

"The Secret Notebook is a funny and mysterious story. I loved how all the characters were really suspicious of everything. It took me a few chapters to get into it, but once I did I couldn't put it down!"
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Actual rating: 3.5 stars
I found this book to be kind of boring, but entertaining at the same time. I really enjoyed the historical facts at the end, though!
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I have received an uncorrected/ARC of “The Secret Notebook” and therefore all opinions are that of my own.


“The Secret Notebook” involved a girl named Riley Greene and her friend Henry Marino. Riley received a scholarship to a school where most students have parents that are involved in the Senate or a government official in some fashion. All Riley wants is to fit in. But when she finds that another student stole her invention idea, Riley tries to find a way to prove the lie.

However, before Riley can prove her idea was stolen, Riley`s favorite teacher’s classroom is trashed. Riley finds a notebook in her book bag that supposedly belonged to Nikola Tesla which holds the clue to finding his research on wireless electricity. Riley and Henry go to NYC to crack open the case.

My review:

Let me just say, if I didn’t have to work, I would have finished this book in a few hours. I seriously could NOT put it down. Not only am I a technology nerd but this book covered mystery and criminology (my other favorite suspects). Reading “The Secret Notebook” took me back to the days when I was Riley’s age and always asking questions or doing my own analysis of the world around me (I mostly studied insects, haha).

Besides the few grammatical errors, this will be book that I most likely will purchase and hopefully will read to my future kids. I also learned more about Tesla than I ever did.  5 stars!!!
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Witty, fun and jam packed with mystery. 

This is a great MG book for those who are wanting to get into reading the mystery genre. It has intrigue, endearing characters and an underlying historical story that really cements it in the real world. 

I liked the loyal friendship aspect that really shone through the entire story from start to finish.
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3.5 Stars
Riley Green doesn’t feel like she fits in at her school. Her mom works for a politician, whereas the rest of the kids have politicians for parents. However, Riley feels her luck will change with the science fair and her extremely cool handmade lie-detector pen. All seems lost when a death threat is made against the teacher and a classmate has stolen her idea. Will Riley and her two friends be able to solve the mystery surrounding her teacher, while finding a way to prove that the classmate cheated? Or will Riley and her friends be in danger, too?

This book is a great way to introduce kids to science. Readers of all ages (including adults) will learn about Nikola Tesla. The story takes place mostly in D.C, but the real action takes place in New York. Most readers will be able to devour this book in an afternoon. The fast-paced ending makes up for the slow start. Hopefully, there will be more adventures with Riley and her friends.
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Hello Again!

Lately, things have been so chaotic and I just feel like I have not been getting a ton of reading time in but then I look at my Goodreads currently-reading shelf and see that the exact opposite is happening! I am reading and reading a lot lately. I am averaging at least two books and two graphic novels a week if not more. Which is super awesome considering I am still working full time and doing everything else I need to do in my life (like house stuff, school stuff, etc...). Also, I am almost done reading a book I have put off for far too long (The Diviners) and I am so excited to share my thoughts on that one. One of the books I picked up more recently was the Secret Notebook and I devoured this book! I picked it out of my TBR pile and started reading and was instantly hooked.


Riley Green a middle school student living in Washington D.C. with her mom wants to work in criminal justice when she grows up and currently attends a great school with many politicians kids. Riley has been working super hard on her project for the invention fair at school and has created a lie detector pen to tell when you are lying based on a handwriting sample. However, on the day of the fair when Riley shows up to school with her project not only does her arch enemy at school have the same project but her favorite teacher's classroom has been vandalized. Someone broke in and trashed her classroom and left a note on the board "Cease and Desist or Die." Riley happens to see the room with her teacher and is thrown into a real-life mystery. Someone is out to get her teacher, and Riley is determined to help solve who!

I absolutely loved this book. It was a fun middle-grade mystery and I learned a lot about Nichola Tesla (I do not want to say how he is related to the story but it was really cool) and energy. Once I picked this up I read through it pretty quickly, I could not put it down, I wanted to know what was going to happen next and who was behind the vandalized classroom and the threat. I will admit by about halfway through the story, I had a pretty decent guess (and I was correct) but I still really enjoyed it and did not see things shaking out the way they did. I am giving this book five stars on Goodreads and highly recommend this middle-grade mystery!

***Thank you so much to the publisher for providing an E-ARC via Netgalley
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This book had some minor issues, but the power of the message overwhelmed those in my opinion. Also it’s aimed at middle grade, so that audience may very well not view it as I did!

It's nice to see a female engineer portrayed in a book aimed at middle-grade students, but I have to confess some issues with having kids do the things this kid was shown doing. Naturally, the best advice is for kids to trust reliable adults and authority figures to resolve issues like these, but writing a story about that would be boring for kids who want to see themselves taking center stage, so of course you have to give them some free rein and put them into some danger.

There are wise ways and foolish ways of doing this, just as there are similar ways of making your main character look smart or dumb, and this book walked a fine line between them. I think on balance it succeeded, but I would liked to have seen a stronger message about wise conduct threaded lightly through the text.

Riley Green is an inventor who has created a lie-detector pen, and is ready to proudly show it off at her school's science fair, hoping it will prove that she belongs there despite being in a lower income group than the rest of the kids. The problem is that the school's privileged troublemaker has stolen her idea, and worse: her favorite teacher has had her office trashed and has disappeared! What is going on? Was the office simply vandalized, or did the intruders expect to find something important there? And who put this ragged old book about birds in Riley's backpack? Or is it about birds? And who is leaving those 'cease and desist' notes for Riley and her teacher?

This isn't just a thriller of a novel, with a strong female character and some fun problem-solving, it’s also a history lesson with some nice back-story concerning Nikola Tesla. Personally I feel Tesla is often elevated to a higher pedestal than he deserves, but there is no denying his contributions to knowledge and his abilities as an engineer. He deserved a lot better than he got out of life and certainly more than the overrated patina that Edison uncritically gets! So on balance I commend this as a worthy read.
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This was such a easy, fast-paced, adventurous, fun mystery read.
The book is full of lively characters (nerds ahoy!) as well as adults who play a good role in the book (which is rare to find in most middle grade and young adult books!) alongwith a good plot involving Nicola Tesla! How crazy is that?!
Nah, that's not even the whole plot. The story is set in a school environment. One of the teacher gets threatened and vanished all of a sudden in the school premises. And the book is all about solving this case. 
I like the book overall. But please do not go into this book with high expectations. The mystery is out there yet it's the adventures and the fun that the characters had that makes the book interesting. And be prepared to know Nicola Tesla better by reading this book! It's fun!

Thank you #NetGalley s for the arc of the book #TheSecretNotebook
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A great middle school ready with enough interest and a fast pace to keep young readers intrigued. I could definitely see my nephew interested in this book, especially with all the scientific elements to the book.
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In 'the secret notebook' Riley Green gets involved in a big mystery. When something happens to her STEM-teacher, her inner-spy rises. Together with her best friend Henry, and her new friend Charlotte, she tries to solve the mysteries. Not to forget that her own school project was stolen by one of her classmates. Another case to solve for the young girl.

When I read the description of this book, I felt like this was going to be a very exciting story. The young Riley Green reminded me of my suspicious self. As a curious person myself, I love mysteries and anything around it. Riley has a passion for anything related to spies. Which is ideal for the story.
The writing was ideal for a middle-grade book. The writing style itself was very smooth and fun to read. It was clear that the author knew what he wanted to say. For me personally, the word choice was a bit too simple sometimes. I feel like middle-grade readers can handle more. However, it didn't form a problem.
Besides the tension and mystery, I also adored the historical part. This book teaches young teens about a scientist. It's educational but in a fun way. In the end, the author also gives a few facts. It shows that the author has done his research. Which I can appreciate as a reader. This book is ideal for readers who love to learn, adore spies and anything related to that.
The character Riley is also a great one. She can also teach young teens something. Riley always fights for her dreams and doesn't give up. In addition, she is always optimistic and tries not to care about what others think. When Riley makes a mistake, she admits it too. The character grows in the book.

I truly liked this book, but I wasn't blown away. It's an easy read and enjoyable for any age.
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This is a middle grade mystery book with prep school intrigue, inventions, science and the history of electricity, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.  It was fast moving and I could see the spy element appealing to many middle grade readers.
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Let me tell you it is a 4 star read for me. It might be my age or something, but for me, it didn't blow me away enough for a 5 star read. It is very fun to read, and I enjoyed it. it helped me out of a reading slump because of that. I think I read it within 2 or 3 hours.
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Such a good book! I may be a little biased because I love everything Nikola Tesla! This is another book all of my kids and nieces and nephews will need their own copies of.
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