Cover Image: A Royal Conundrum (The Misfits)

A Royal Conundrum (The Misfits)

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Member Reviews

I received an electronic ARC from Random House Children's Publishing through NetGalley.
Readers meet Olive as she is sent to a new school away from home. Her parents travel a lot and she feels like a misfit. At her new school, she meets others who don't feel they fit either. She is selected to join a secret team that is a new part of a network of hidden law enforcement around the world. Olive finds friends on this team and together, they solve a major jewelry theft case and save the school. Yee creates well rounded character that reveal more about themselves as the story unfolds. She continues to reveal surprises about them until the final chapter. Middle grade readers will enjoy trying to solve the cases along with this team.

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I really liked the illustrations in this. Perfect for fans of City Spies and Smartest Kid in the Universe. I liked the San Francisco setting.

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Thanks to #NetGalley and Random House for allowing me to read an eARC for an honest review.

What do you get when you create a super-secret spy team with 5 boarding school students, who are different ages and have different talents? Hilarity!

Lisa Yee has created middle school gold. Full of middle school humor, cool spy tools, outlandish adults and plenty of hijinks, The Misfits: A Royal Conundrum will have you laughing out loud as your cheer on this diverse spy group.

Dan Santat will be illustrating this book & I cannot wait to see the final drawings.

I will definitely be getting this one for our campus library.

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I always enjoy Lisa Yee’s writing and how good she writes children’s fiction. This was a great start to this series, the characters were everything that I was hoping for and thought they worked in the and left me wanting to read more.

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This was a fun and interesting read. Very good for middle grade. I wish more time was spent on the mystery, and more on the parents. However, this was a great first book in the series and I would recommend to others.

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"The Misfits Royal Conundrum" by Lisa Yee is a delightful children's novel that follows a group of misfit kids as they embark on an exciting adventure to solve a royal mystery. The writing is playful and engaging, and the characters are endearing and relatable. The plot is full of twists and turns, with plenty of humor and heart. The story contains essential themes of friendship, teamwork, and perseverance, which will resonate with young readers. This book is a gem, perfect for kids who love mysteries, humor, and quirky characters. You'll be rooting for the misfits all the way!

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"The Misfits #1: A Royal Conundrum" by Lisa Yee is a hilarious and action-packed middle-grade novel that introduces readers to Olive Cobin Zang, a uniquely gifted girl with a knack for finding trouble. The story unfolds when Olive is unexpectedly enrolled in a peculiar boarding school, which turns out to be a former castle turned prison that now functions as a "reforming arts school."

As Olive navigates the challenges of her new environment, she discovers that RASCH (not "rash") is more than just an ordinary school—it's a cover for an elite group of misfits who are dedicated to fighting crime. Olive, along with a team of other kids who never quite fit in, realizes that they must join forces to save RASCH from closing down.

The novel is filled with quirky characters, unexpected twists, and a heist of epic proportions that threatens the future of RASCH. Lisa Yee, a Newbery Honoree, weaves together a story that combines humor, adventure, and heart, making it an engaging read for middle-grade readers.

Readers will follow Olive and her misfit friends as they embark on a mission to stop the heist of the century and, in the process, discover the true meaning of friendship and belonging. With an imaginative setting and delightful illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, "A Royal Conundrum" promises an entertaining and memorable reading experience for young readers.

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I have read "this" book many times now. While a great book to recommend to your readers that have finished other similar series, it would not be my first go to. I did appreciate the diverse cast but they fell flat as characters.

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I saw that Dan Santat illustrated this book and I think they will add a lot to this novel about a boarding school made for different kids. Our main character, Olive Cobin Zang is a middle school kid who has spent most of her school time being invisible. Her parents are always away and while her grandmother was there, she was quite happy at home. Now that her grandmother is gone, she feels like she is unnoticed and not a priority for her parents.
To her surprise her mother withdraws her from school and tells her that she is enrolling her in the Reforming Arts School (RASCH) located on an island out in the San Francisco Bay. Once she arrives it looks as if it will be no better than the school she left. However, it turns out that this school looks for what is special in each student, and it turns out that Olive and several other students are good at fighting crime. The (self-named) Misfits are created, and they are schooled in the skills they will need and also, they find some good friends. I hope that this will be popular for its intended audience, I have to admit I wasn't overwhelmed.

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I was drawn to this novel because of the cover. It showed promise, and it didn't disappoint.
This was a super fun middle-grade spy/team on a mission kind of book, from the assembling of the team to training and then execution. Oliver ends up being sent to a strange school that has a very different program from the traditional one. Like her, other kids are there because of their amazing skills so is Oliver. Besides playing board games, they will help to save the school. There's also Oliver's memories of Mimi that we get as short flashes and that helps to balance the silly humor. It's very entertaining and I love the art style of the illustrator. I hope this becomes a series. I've read an arc and not all the art was completed, I'm excited to see the final book and collect it to my shelf.
Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this digital advanced readers' copy.

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This book is humorous and has quirky characters, so my students will like it. It’s got a little of everything-crime, a very strange school, highly unusual teachers, and memorable characters. It sounds like it will be a series.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for this DRC.
Olive Cobin Zang is a lonely middle grader. Her parents aren’t around much and her grandmother is … well, no longer around. Out of the blue, her mother drops off at a Reforming Arts School, where her expectations are mixed: will she be invisible again, or is there a chance she might make a friend? Her expectations are blown away when she becomes part of an elite undercover crime fighting team, who also become her friends. High tech gadgetry and nose picking become the signature moves of The Misfits as they try to save their school and solve a heist.
Super fun and full of baked goods, the Misfits team will keep you engaged, laughing and cheering through high emotions, high jinks and high wires.


#TheMisfits1ARoyalConundrum #NetGalley

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Started reading this when I had covid. Based on the cover, I was expecting a graphic novel, but it wasn't.

Very fun premise. I expect it to be very popular with our MG readers!

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I absolutely adored Maizy Chen's Last Chance, so I was excited to see another Lisa Yee book- especially one paired with illustrations by Dan Santat! I liked that this book had so many illustrations, without feeling like a book meant for younger grades. There was indeed lots of action, adventure and mystery. There was a fun ensemble cast, although at times I had a bit of difficulty telling the characters apart as I was reading. I also felt like the mystery got a bit muddled sometimes. However, it was very fast paced and exciting. I think readers that enjoy Stuart Gibbs and Gordon Korman would like this book. This appears to be a series opener, so I'm looking forward to seeing the progression of these characters.

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I was sort of ambivalent before starting this book but it was awesome! I loved it! The writing style and story line kept your attention and I found myself flying through the chapters to see what happened next. I figured out a few things before the end but there were a couple of twists I did not have at all. Super fun for reluctant readers who love a good action mystery. Can't wait to see what happens in the next installment.

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Olive Zang makes such a small impression on people in her school that she is all but invisible. Her parents are very busy, and constantly having to travel for work. Now that her grandmother, Mimi, is gone, and her parents have to travel again, they take her out of school (where the principal had no recollection of her) and send her off to RASCH, a "reforming arts school" off the coast of San Francisco. It's located in an old mansion called Foggy Manor. She's a bit leery at first, having had a less that fantastic experience at her school, but RASCH has fun classes, and she meets some fellow students with whom she gets along. The big test at the school is the Conundrum, and Olive works with several classmates like Phil, Theo, Iggy, and James. Even though other students think it is a competition, the group gets points for working together, and are soon told that they did a great job. The will be junior operative for No One Can Know (NOCK) headed by teachers Monica and Modest, and give themselves the nickname "The Misfits". Olive has a great time learning different techniques, and finds that the aerial gymanstic skills that her Mimi taught her come in very handy. When there is a big gala fundraiser set to take place, there is a lot of pressure, since Dame Gloria Vanderwisp's effort often raises a lot of money that is crucial to keeping the school open. When the day arrives, Dame Gloria wears her Royal Rumpus necklace, as well as a bejeweled pin of her cat, Winky, even though there are rumors that The Bling King is targeting the gala and might steal the jewelry. When he does, the Misfits get called in to investigate. Will they be able to solve the mystery in order to save the school, and will Olive find out additional information about her family members?
Strengths: Tweens often struggle with personal identity, and often feel as invisible as Olive is at the beginning of the book. Being whisked off to a boarding school where they don't have to deal with difficult parents and where they are able to find friends who share their interests always seems like an appealing thought, especially when they also are taught spy skills and given cases to work on. Olive is a bit unsure of what her special skills might be, and it's good to see her remembering her grandmother as someone with whom she had a lot of fun... while incidentally gaining lots of skills. When Olive becomes accustomed to the school, she is even more motivated to save it, even if it means a somewhat risky investigation. Santat's illustrations are always fun to see, and I'll be interested to see a final copy with more details. Readers who like Yee's Maizy Chen's Last Chance will enjoy seeing a different facet of this author.
Weaknesses: Yee writes a great spy/adventure type book, evidenced by her Super Hero High (2016) series, but there were some quirky names and situations in this title that made it seem better suited for elementary students. I also had some trouble keeping all of the Misfits straight.
What I really think: This is a good choice for readers who enjoy spy academy tales like Walden's 2008 H.I.V.E., Buckley's 2009 N.E.R.D.S., Hale's 2013 School for S.P.I.E.S. or Salane's 2013 Lawless series, or newer books like Carter's The Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor (2019) or Ponti's City Spies books (2020).

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Being a nobody was part of Olive's middle school experience until one day her mom swooped into school and hustled her to an creative arts academy located on an island near San Francisco. Suddenly, Olive “tests” into an elite, and very small, group of students who will be trained to observe and intercede in criminal activity. The selected students all demonstrated the ability to effectively work with others during the training, as well as possessing a special strength which would contribute to the team's success. Full of adventure, mystery, and self discovery, in the vein of the City Spies and Spy School series. #TheMisfits1ARoyalConundrum #NetGalley.
Thank you to Random House Children's, an imprint of Random House Books for Young Readers, and Netgalley for the digital arc

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A story that reminded me a bit of the movie Spy Kids but not totally. I did pick up on some of the things revealed at the end early on but thoroughly enjoyed each of the adventures throughout the book!

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Olive has always been different and consequently struggled in public schools. Her parents seem absent most of the time and not really sure what to do with her. One day they hurriedly drop her off at a mysterious boarding school and disappear. It doesn't take long for Olive to integrate into the school and find her place. In doing so, she realizes this is a school like no other she has ever heard of.

Action/Adventure story that is not in Yee's usual genre - the one in which she get awards! For me, this one was an okay story, but I like Lisa's other work better. The big draw for this one is going to be Santat's illustrations.

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What a fun book. This book is great for older elementary and middle school students. So many students struggle to find fitting where they fit in. Students will relate to these quirky and unique characters. Their individuality helps them become a crime-fighting team. I cannot wait to introduce students to this story.

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