Cover Image: A Royal Conundrum (The Misfits)

A Royal Conundrum (The Misfits)

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Member Reviews

Huge thanks to Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book 😊
"A Royal Conundrum" by Lisa Yee and Dan Santat was a super cute middle grade graphic novel. My favorite part of this book and honestly the reason I picked it up, was because of the amazing cover!! I loved that the story focused on the "misfits" of the world. I think this is a great message to kids to let them know that even if they are a little "weird" or "different", they're still awesome and beautiful in their own way. 💗

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A wild ride full of humor, stealth and a misfit cast of characters!
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Olive has been shipped off to a boarding school in San Francisco called RASCH after her parents tell her they’re going on another business trip with no idea when they will return. Feeling like the odd one out, Olive quickly realizes this school is unlike any other. When she’s tapped to join a secret agent society of middle school operatives she finally feels like she’s found her place, but when a mission goes awry she wonders what she actually brings to the team.
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This was such a good time! @lisayee1 crafted a great action adventure story perfect for middle grade readers while @dsantat brings his signature artwork to life with the misfit cast of characters. I loved getting to moderate a panel with Lisa at #NTTBF24 and discuss this title. Fans of Spy Kids will love this and I need book 2 immediately!

CW: racism, violence, xenophobia, parental abandonment

Bit cringy at times but overall great!

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New middle grade spy school series for those who enjoy James Ponti’s City Spies, Stuart Gibbs Spy School and Ally Carter’s The Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor. The school in The Misfits is RASCH, a “reforming arts” school and Olive, with her grandmother gone and her parents always traveling for work, finds herself a part of this unique school’s student body. Previously, no one really took much notice of Olive and she felt that invisibility keenly so a new school feels like just the right opportunity to do and be something different. Classes are interesting and Olive teams up with four others in a schoolwide competition. Her team does well and then discovers that working together on a real mission, foiling a big heist, may garner the funds needed to keep the school open. Yee’s storyline gets to the good stuff quickly and the group of five work well together despite, and maybe because of, very different skill sets and backgrounds. As with most middle grade books, a positive outcome seems unlikely at several points, but ultimately, everything turns out just as we all hoped it would. No cliffhanger, but this book is already being touted as the beginning of a new series and while there are many kid spy books out there, the diversity of the core group (AAPI, Muslim, Black, Caucasian), a fairly quick-moving pace and terrific illustrations by Dan Santat should all work together to make this a well-liked series by those in grades 4-6. There is no profanity, violence is bloodfree and pretty tame, and no sexual content.

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"The Misfits: A Royal Conundrum" follows Olive Cobin-Zang who transfers to a boarding school and settles with a team of misfits. Together, they're solving crimes with the police with a jewel thief on the loose. While the backstory and subplots felt somewhat cohesively awkward, this is a good book to pick up for young adolescents who'll further enjoy Santat's lively illustrations paired with Yee leaving clues for the reader to stay intrigued.

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Probably a 3.5 for this unusual middle grade mystery. A group of children who don't quite fit in anywhere else are the perfect ones to solve crimes. No one expects kids to be involved and it is easy for them to pass through unnoticed. The story lagged at times, but this is an interesting start to a new series.

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Don't miss this action-packed adventure which keeps you turning the pages! Engaging mis-fits working together to solve the jewelry theft includes humor and light-hearted fun.

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There were a lot of great moments in this novel - Olive was a great character for kids to relate to and connect with. A lonely girl forming strong bonds in a fun spy mission setting. I think that this could have benefitted from more clearly establishing the setting of the academy; I found it difficult to understand the distinction between the regular students and the mission team, it was too abstract for an average middle school character to understand. There were also many different subplots that I felt were distracting to the main mission which is the reason for the 3-star rating.
Thank you to Netgalley for providing a copy for review!

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This was very fun, child spy school vibes. I love the banding together of the “misfits”, the overcoming obstacles - mental and physical. The crime solving was fun and the gadgets were great. All around very entertaining regardless of your age.

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Fun middle grade mystery/sleuth book for kids who like a “Spy Kids” kind of tale. Although there was a lot going on, I feel that middle schoolers would get a kick out of the story. Crime solving, fun gadgets, overcoming obstacles in life … overall a great read.

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This one was fabulous!!!! Highly recommend it for your library collection!

Cindy Kay's narration was excellent she brought all the characters to life and brought the emotion!

I also got the ebook so I could see the illustrations and they were fabulous too!

I hope we get more books with our Misfits!

5 stars

I received the audiobook from the publisher PRHAudio for a fair and honest review

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I keep seeing this title and decided to check it out myself. Several VERY long days later, I forced myself to finish it. I just couldn't get invested in any of the characters, most of whom were drawn in extremely bold strokes without any nuance - James is small and shy, Iggy is rude, Modest is an unexpected ballet master, etc. - that sums up pretty much all I know about these characters. And the mystery is very cartoonish, not drawing me in at all. Not even with a whole lot of cats! I thought this might be a good addition to my sixth grade reading program, but I can't see my kids caring about it any more than I did.

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Olive feels no one notices her--until she enters boarding school at RASCH. She soon finds herself part of a group of kids with unusual talents who are in training to be a secret, elite team of crime solvers. The team learns to use each other's strengths and to lean on each other as they race to catch a jewel thief. Action, adventure, & friendship make this a must-read for middle grade mystery fans! I'm looking forward to reading more Misfit adventures in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC of the book to read and review.

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I was captivated by this book right from the beginning! Great cast of characters, mystery, adventure, and building new friendships. I am so glad it is #1... that means there are more on the way!

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You really cannot go wrong with this duo of author and illustrator! Lisa Yee brings her trademark heart and ability to identify with the need for everyone to be truly seen; and Dan Santat's brings his trademark humor and well - you get Misfits #1! I'm looking forward to future collaborations between these two!

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Thank you, NetGalley, for an e-ARC of The Misfits #1: A Royal Conundrum by Lisa Yee.
"The Misfits #1: A Royal Conundrum" is a fun middle-grade novel set in a boarding school for special children. Join a group of misfit spies as they team up to solve a mystery. With its engaging storyline and relatable characters, this quick read is perfect for recommending to young readers looking for an enjoyable adventure.

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Fun and fast paced! Our library has already purchased multiple copies = we can't keep it on the shelf.

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When Olive is taken out of school as her parents embark on another business trip, she never imagines what awaits her. Olive does not like school, her appearance, her seeming invisibility to her parents, and she misses her grandmother who passed away. Most middle school kids have similar feelings at some time or another. Middle school kids will also appreciate the action and adventure of this novel. It would be fun if there are more in this series.

I received this novel from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions here are my own.

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If the best fiction taps into universal longings, it’s no wonder that middle grade novels often focus on protagonists who feel left out. Lisa Yee evokes this feeling with The Misfits #1: A Royal Conundrum, the first installment in a series focusing on Olive Cobin Zang and the other members of the Misfits, a secret group of young special agents.

Newbery Honor winner Yee teams up with Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, and the result is a fun caper accentuated by Santat’s vivid illustrations. Olive, a Chinese American 12-year-old, knows that something is up when one day her InstaFriends account vanishes, along with all evidence of her presence at school. So when she’s called to the office and learns her mother (who travels constantly and doesn’t remember Olive’s birthday) is enrolling her at the Reforming Arts School of San Francisco (RASCH), Olive is not exactly surprised. Although she’s terrified that this might be a punishment—after all, RASCH used to be a prison—Olive won’t miss her old school. And because she feels invisible, she’s sure it won’t miss her either. The only person who would have missed her was her grandmother Mimi, but she’s been gone for months, though no one will tell Olive what happened: Her mother will only say, “She’s no longer with us.”

Once at RASCH, Olive feels instantly at home, a feeling that increases after she’s sorted into a pod of fellow outsiders. This team of kids brings unusual tech savvy and unique mental and physical talents (Olive’s Mimi was a circus performer who trained Olive on the trapeze) to their division of NOCK (“No One Can Know”), an elite force whose “mission includes ensuring the safety of the community, guarding the possessions of the citizens, and preventing civil disorder.” With their combined skills and immediate bond, the Misfits work together to uncover the mystery behind a string of jewel thefts and prevent their beloved RASCH from being closed by its patron, Dame Gloria. From mind-bending technology to sometimes hilarious hijinks, A Royal Conundrum has everything a young reader—especially one who feels invisible—could want.

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This Misfits team up together to help solve a crime. I liked the mystery aspect of this book and trying to see if I was able to guess the suspect before the children did. I am not the intended audience but I still enjoyed it. My 10 year old niece would love this book and the little life lessons found inside.

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Sign me up for the series whoever long it'll go on. With the partnership of writing with Lee and illustrations that dot the entire book by Santat, it's a combination made for middle grade. A secret society of misfit kids at a secret academy not operates kind of out in the open? Yes. Sounds right. Mix in cool characters, neat tech, friendship, and whimsy and you've got a winning combination of a light mystery that includes baking and cats.

Could a reader see the connections of Olive's family before the end? Sure, but that's not really what it was about. It was the journey, not the destination. Of course they'll solve the mystery and they'll do it in style. Entertaining for sure with a fantastic setting. Then you have the illustrations that are popped in at opportune times. It's just plain fun and we need more of this.

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