Cover Image: A Royal Conundrum (The Misfits)

A Royal Conundrum (The Misfits)

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was a fun story for young readers. The book was quick moving and so much fun.

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My students are already fans of these authors. They will love this title. Many will relate to the characters.

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Oh my goodness! This book was a quick read and very entertaining. I will definitely be suggesting this book to my friends with kids. This book is all about teamwork, making friends, and trusting yourself. I enjoyed learning who Olive was. Olive is a “dork” and finds that she doesn’t fit in at school and feels very alone at home since her parents are always away on business trips. One day after her grandmother is gone, her mother takes her out of public school and enrolls her at RASCH a private school that is known to be a “reforming” arts school… what people don’t know is it’s a cover for spy training… will Olive fit in? Read this fabulous book to find out! I loved it!!!!

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I enjoyed reading the first book of The Misfits series. I look forward to the next one.

This first book, A Royal Conundrum, was a bit slow in the beginning. Once there was more action happening it went by faster and it was more enjoyable to read.

A must-have in all libraries!

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Delightful, easy to read, and emotional spy novel for middle grade readers! High interest and high stakes will hold readers attention without the vocabulary being daunting or exhausting to grapple with. Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Books for Young Readers for an early read in exchange for an honest review.

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC of this novel. 4/5 stars.

It's been a minute since I've read lower-middle grade, but this was a delight. Between the secret spy school within what I presume to be based on Alcatraz but also a performing arts school but also a spy pod and the delightful cat-ness that was the ending...it was just...fun? It's been a long time since I've read something where it's a band of misfits (ahahaha, see what I did there) with nothing super serious happening. They're sincerely like...10-12 year olds with amazing skills and talents (like...super acrobat...computer genius re: tony stark, etc.) who find themselves as spies in an organization.

I did see the ending somewhat coming, but the reveal of Mouse was what really hooked me into continuing this series. I would also LOVE to see the finalized art since the illustrations were not finalized or finished in the arc.

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“We did okay for a couple of dorks, didn’t we.” Yes, they did. From the beginning, this book has a great vibe and tone. The characters are unique and engaging, and the setting and San Francisco skyline offer the perfect backdrop.

Olive – who feels like she doesn’t belong – arrives at her new school just in time, as she and a group of classmates are tasked with saving the school after a jewelry heist mars the school’s reputation. Her grandmother Mimi’s words guide her throughout the book, as she tries to manage friendships, a new living space, and fragile parental relationships.

“The unexpected can be exhilarating,” Mimi once said to her. And, the crime-fighting adventure that unfolds is exhilarating. With a release date of January 2, this book will make a great New Year’s gift.

This middle grade story will be great for children ages 10-15 who love crime-fighting stories, adventure, and quirky characters who find a way to fit in. #TheMisfits1ARoyalConundrum

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What worked:

Olive lacks confidence and wonders if she should be part of the top-secret NOCK team (No One Can Know). Her teammates each have unique talents like technology, knowledge, and combat but Olive wonders what ability she has to offer. Olive’s parents have dumped her into RASCH, a school for reforming arts, and she feels her parents don’t care about her. She badly misses her grandmother but still remembers motivational things Mimi used to say. Olive realizes the skills she learned from Mimi’s acrobatic lessons come in handy and make her unafraid of heights. However, she’s never learned to swim and the idea of getting into water terrifies her.

RASCH is uniquely set at a former prison located on an island across the bay from San Francisco. That description sounds a lot like Alcatraz Prison but the building in this story is nothing like it. It’s more like a castle with a moat and offers many twisting hallways and secret passages. The NOCK team meets in a hidden room that’s equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and other resources. Olive’s best friend Phil is a technology whiz and she comes up with numerous clever inventions that might easily fit into futuristic stories or innovative spy novels.

The rash of brazen jewel heists presents an obvious conflict for the characters. The thief is nicknamed the Bling King as he takes gems worth millions and leaves a calling card behind. The school really needs financial support or it will be forced to shut down. The headmistress is hosting a fundraising event at the school and the largest benefactor will be the featured guest. Dame Gloria will be wearing the priceless Royal Rumpus necklace so everyone, including readers, will assume the Bling King will try to steal it. Protecting the dame’s jewels will be NOCK’s most important assignment and failure will surely mean the closing of RASCH.

What didn’t work as well:

There’s a strong dependency on Phil’s inventions as she seems to whip up new ones at every turn. Her creations stretch the limits of believability when she develops oral communication devices, and various self-defense gadgets, and retrofits the school’s van into a mobile control center. The other NOCK members contribute to the team but Phil’s efforts are disproportionate and improbable.

The final verdict:

The basic premise of the story isn’t overly innovative but it still feels fresh. The plot has a nice pace and the blend of characters presents the ups of downs of developing friendships. Overall, the adventure and mystery are very entertaining and I recommend you give the book a shot!

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Such a fun middle grade crime novel! It’s got awkward middle-schoolers, jewel thieves, mouthwatering baked goods, an aquatic school bus, spy tech, and cats! Kids are going to adore this one!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC. I cannot wait to see the final print with all of Santat’s full illustrations!

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This book is a fun action adventure, sure, but what really makes it great are the characters - the misfits themselves! (NOCK = NO ONE CAN KNOW!)

Olive: "Invisibility had its benefits, she was quick to reassure herself."

Phil(omena): "Maybe we can be dorks together."

Iggy: "We'll never make it across by ourselves."

James: "James shouted, looking pleased with himself. It was total chaos, and Olive loved it."

Theo: "But Theo could speak Mandarin."

And the drawings are definitely going to be the highlight of this one!

Remember, "Perfection is boring. Flaws are interesting." (Thanks, Mimi.)

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Olive has never fit in at school or been given much attention from her parents. When she is dropped off at an unusual boarding school, she isn't expecting much but quickly realizes that this school is different. Olive, along with a team of students with unique gifts is chosen to join a secret group tasked with undercover missions. With several twists and surprises along the way, this novel is a great, fun read. Kids will love this adventure!

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So I picked up this book because the storyline was so cute. Who doesn’t love a middle-grade storyline about teens feeling like they don’t fit in? And then magic happens when they find that special place and their special people. Also, I recognized Dan Santat’s name as the illustrator and 2023 National Award Winner for Young People’s Literature, so I had to read this book.

The storyline moved along without any dull moments and was very entertaining, it definitely will keep the attention of a middle grader. A top secret group of five students, “NOCK - No One Can Know, whose mission includes ensuring the community's safety, guarding citizens' possessions, and preventing civil disorder.” Misfits include intrigue, mystery, special operative training, and my favorite - CATS! Since I live in California, I could easily picture the setting of San Francisco, and what I can only guess was Alcatraz Island. Can you imagine, having your parents drop you off at a reform school that used to be a former prison? I did read an Advance Reader Copy, so most of the art were rough drawings. I must admit, I cannot wait to see the final copy just to see all the art come to life. There were quite a few characters to keep track of, outside of the five members of NOCK, so I wish I had a summary page of characters for reference. I can see this book being a hit amongst middle-grade readers and a possibility for follow-up books.

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What a great middle grade mystery! The kids in the story, unlikely friends and partners, team up to solve crimes in their special private school. I've purchased many of Yee's books for my middle school library and this new genre combined with Santat's illustrations I anticipate this one being a hit with my students!

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Delightful fun kids will love. Reminds me of the Problim Children series with a level of silliness, especially from the adults, kids enjoy. It's always exciting when those who feel unseen and out-of-place get "the call" to be heroes. Glad to know there is already a sequel in the works. Oof! Oof! Oof!

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher but am under no obligation to give a positive review.

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This book was a lot of fun to read. I enjoyed the character building and how the story was paced. It was an enjoyable read.

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This was a really fun and creative read. I'm a big Dan Santat fan and I'm glad he led me to this ARC by Lisa Yee. Olive is such an endearing character, made better with such eclectic company. The clues kept me guessing right along with the story.

I hope there is a really good copy edit team checking this before the final proof is cleared, the back half in particular is riddled with dropped words and phrases and doubled typos that distracted from the read.

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I can tell from the title Misfits #1: A Royal Conundrum that this is probably the first book in a series. Therefore , the students in Nock will have more adventures where they will use the skills they learned at Rasch. In this novel they helped recover stolen jewelry and apprehend the leader of the group of robbers.
This novel should appeal to middle grade students because it is fillled with situations where Olive and her friends have to use their minds and cooperate to solve problems in their attempt to save Rasch from closing down. At times what happens seems to be resolved too conveniently, but the story is entertaining. Olive and her friends are able to do many things because they are children and the adults often overlook them as being “just kids.” However, they are really very resourceful and smart, which adds to the appeal of the story. What I didn’t like, though, is that the father and other males seem to be more comical or less competent than the females.
Overall, Misfits is a delightful story. I am sure young readers will look forward to reading books about the adventures of Olive and her friends.

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The Misfits is a perfect title for the fun and unique group of students/friends who make up a secret group learning to use their particular skills for the betterment of society. Olive and her peers introduce many great lessons and provide text-to-self connections for young readers, and this definitely reads for a younger middle-grade reading audience. A lot happens quickly in this book (the training they all go through to gain skills and knowledge seems like it happens overnight) that I felt could have been dug into more; unfortunately, the advanced copy images for the inside of the novel were not completed just potential sketches, but I am sure that when they are finalized they will be a big draw for struggling readers and kids looking for stories of crime-fighting misfits who stand out from the norm!

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A fantastic MG adventure! I loved the way the protagonists bring their own skills and interests to the team, while also dealing with their own secrets. This is the start of a quirky new world and I look forward to future installments! Perfect for younger MG readers.

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Olive hates school. And feels invisible but prefers it that way. Often left with her grandmother while her parents go on business trips, Olive’s friends live within the pages of her favorite comic book series. After her Grandmother dies and her parents are leaving for another business trip, Olive is whisked away to a strange boarding school on an island in San Francisco Bay. Originally weary to start school in another setting where she is sure she will not fit in, Olive discovers the school is not what it appears to be, she makes friends, and is selected as part of an elite student group which is tasked with helping to solve a jewelry heist crime spree.
This is a fun middle grade series that those who love reading stories about crime fighting kids will enjoy. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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