Cover Image: A Royal Conundrum (The Misfits)

A Royal Conundrum (The Misfits)

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The Misfits: A Royal Conundrum by Lisa Yee was a fun and fast paced middle grade read. I think middle grade readers will definitely connect with some of the friend drama and "popular kid" references and situations throughout the book. The overall theme of fitting in and finding your group would make it a good class read aloud as well. Students reading individually will definitely enjoy the illustrations by Dan Santat!

This is a book I will absolutely be purchasing for my elementary library!

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3.5, rounded up. The backstory is clunky, but middle-grade readers will enjoy Olive's fast-paced, madcap adventures with RASCH and the Misfits. I look forward to getting my hands on a published copy so I can look at the finished art (was still in draft mode when I got this eARC).

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I first heard about this middle grade novel from NetGalley and was drawn to it because I’m a Dan Santat fan. I was grateful to receive an advanced copy for review but was surprised it was really more of a novel with the occasional sketch, so I ultimately listened to the audiobook via Libby. This is a fun book that reminds me of Mia Mayhem in the secret society of gifted kids out to solve crime. Olive finds a friend group and fosters her skills/strengths at RASCH, a boarding school for misfits with special talents (think Hogwarts without the magic… more of a Mission Impossible/007 vibe). There’s a bit of boot camp style training and some actual battling of bad guys and mystery solving along the way. I think this is a great book- lots of fun- and would recommend it. I’d love a bit more of Santat’s artwork. The book also had a few loose ends and some superficial plot development that I would have liked more depth and character evolution to push this up to 5 stars.

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This book is a whole lot of fun and will be an easy recommendation to kids who liked Mysterious Benedict Society or the City Spies series. Dan Santat's illustrations add to the story, but the imaginative world that Lisa Yee has built is really the draw here. Never too silly or too serious, a solid series opener. I will say that I didn't find the twists very surprising, but that doesn't mean the target reader won't.

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This is a lighthearted and funny mystery featuring a bunch of kids at a very special boarding school. The main character is Olive, whose parents drop her against her will at a "reforming arts" school, where students go through an unusual evaluation to determine their talents. It turns out that Olive's group is chosen because of their potential as crimefighters, and they quickly become embroiled is solving a jewelry heist. The fate of their school depends on them, and through their friendship and creative thinking they save the day.

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Lisa Yee's "The Misfits #1: A Royal Conundrum" is an absolute gem that seamlessly blends humor, heart, and heists into a delightful and engaging tale. From the imaginative mind of Newbery Honoree Lisa Yee and the artistic brilliance of Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, this illustrated series kicks off with a bang, delivering a truly enchanting reading experience.

The protagonist, Olive Cobin Zang, is a lovably quirky character who finds herself in the unlikeliest of places – a former castle turned prison turned "reforming arts school." Yee's masterful storytelling introduces us to a cast of misfit characters, each with their unique quirks and talents, forming an elite team ready to tackle the heist of the century.

The narrative is a rollercoaster of excitement, mystery, and camaraderie as Olive and her newfound friends navigate the challenges of RASCH, the covert academy with a mission to fight crime. Yee's witty prose combined with Santat's whimsical illustrations bring the story to life, captivating readers of all ages.

A Royal Conundrum not only entertains but also delivers a powerful message about friendship, acceptance, and finding one's place in the world. This first installment in The Misfits series earns a well-deserved five out of five stars for its charm, originality, and the sheer joy it brings to readers. A must-read for anyone seeking an enchanting escape into a world where misfits become heroes!"

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This was a great, adventurous middle grade read! I hope to read more in this series. I loved Olive and the other characters in NOCK. Middle grade reader will love this. I highly recommend it.

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A wonderful book for all children, especially those who feel like they don't quite fit in. Well, here's a chance for them to be a part of an in-group --of sorts--and go on heroic adventures they never thought possible. This book is like a big, warm hug that spins you around until you're laughing! A fun, funny, and heartwarming story I will recommend to all middle-grade readers and their adults.

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VERDICT; Purchase if you have the financial ability to do so; if not, check out from your library!

DETAILS
Lisa Yee and Dan Santat pairing up? From the moment I saw that, I thought to myself, "Thank goodness this is going to be a series." Next thought: "Not to judge a book by its cover, but based on this lineup of kids' expressions, this one is going to be an amusing, fast-paced, dynamic ride. Sure enough, this animated novel is full of emotion, connection, and adventure.

You know your life is not going to end up as "normal" when your mother abruptly ships you off to a former-prison-turned "reforming arts school." Oh, yes. And it's in a castle to boot. Turns out Olive Cobin Zhang isn't just exiled from her family, she's recruited to—wait for it—a pseudo-government crime-fighting organization called No One Can Know. Add in gorgeously depicted fellow child spies Iggy the brave, James the bookworm, Philomena the genius, and Theo the chill, and you've got the Misfits.

This age can be so hard with changing friendships and social dynamics. I'm a sucker for a tale of great bonding across kids, not to mention hilarious dialogue and wacky adventures. Both Lisa and Dan deliver. Dan's illustrations are as zany as the plot, bringing both the kids' dynamics and the romp of a story to life. The kids are diverse in backgrounds and the story is part school story, part adventure novel, part friendship story, and part mystery. A fabulous draw. Some of the adventures are a stretch, but the world-building helps keep you engaged and believing.

Overall, a fabulous read that will have kids hiding under their covers to read it in one gulp. Thank you, NetGalley and Random House, for the opportunity to read and post my review!

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The best of City Spies and Rosie Frost spun with Lisa Yee’s inimitable quirkiness, humor, and breakneck pacing. Very funny and exciting! After her grandmother’s presumed death, Olive is shipped off to a boarding school on an island off the coast of California. Foggy Manor used to be a reform school for juvenile delinquents.; now it is RASCH, the “revolutionary” Reforming Arts School. After a bunch of bullying and a raft of tests, Olive gets selected for a special kids’ spy unit of NOCK (No One Can Know). Their new mission is to prevent the school’s main benefactor’s jewels from being stolen, thus enhancing the school’s reputation and keeping it from getting defunded. A bakery and a cat convention get thrown into the mix, and it’s off to the races. The Misfits: A Royal Conundrum is a madcap romp with crazy characters sure to keep you guessing what they have up their sleeves and a page-turning plot with improbable situations that make you wonder what’s around the next corner. Humorous details and dialogue sparkle throughout. Hilariously accented by Dan Santat’s brilliant and clever illustrations.

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I love both Lisa Yee and Dan Santat's individual works, so I was SUPER excited to see this team up! Yee's entertaining and quick paced storytelling with Santat's vibrant artistic style can't be beat.

If you are a fan the Spy School series by Stu Gibbs, then this series will be right up your alley. The characters are ALL characters in some way, shape or form. There is a ton of humor but also a lot of heart and a focus on developing and maintaining friendships.

A definite must for elementary and middle grade libraries!

#NetGalley #TheMisfits1ARoyalConundrum #MGhumor

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This is a very fun crime fighting, spy school book that fans of City Spies and Spy School would enjoy. Olive feels like she does not fit in at school or with her family until she is sent to a new boarding school that used to be a prison. At RASCH, she finds a group of friends and discovers that the academy isn't what it seems. Working with her friends, the NOCK team attempts to prevent the heist of the century from the Bling King and save the school from losing it's funding and closing. Some of the gadgets used in the book were a little unbelievable but overall this is a very entertaining read.

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Cute middle grade novel
Excited for the continuation
Olive Cobin Zang has . . . issues. And they mostly aren’t her fault. (No, really!) Though she often slips under the radar, problems have a knack for finding her. So, imagine her doubts when she’s suddenly dropped off at the strangest boarding school ever: a former castle turned prison that's now a “reforming arts school”!

But nothing could’ve prepared Olive for RASCH (not “rash”). There, she’s lumped with a team of other kids who never quite fit in, and discovers that the academy isn’t what it seems—and neither is she. In fact, RASCH is a cover for an elite group of misfits who fight crime . . . and Olive has arrived just in time.

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Thank you to #NetGalley, Lisa Yee, and the publisher of the book for the eARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

Problems always seem to find Olive and she's not really sure how or why it happens to her. She's soon dropped off at a very odd "reforming arts boarding school called RASCH. There she's soon placed with other kids who are just like her. Kids who don't always fit in or have trouble that finds them. The group is soon on a mission to save the school and the only place that feels like home to them.

This was a fun middle grade graphic novel. It reminded me of the City Spies series. I look forward to getting a physical copy for my classroom. I will definitely recommend it to others too!

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Olive Cobin Zang is a young girl who (like so many) doesn't fit into her school. To top it off, her parents are barely there, almost always gone for work. That was okay because she had her grandmother to watch her but now her grandmother is gone and Olive has to deal with that grief on top of being an outsider.

Unsurprisingly her parents have to leave so Olive is pulled out of school and sent to a boarding school off the California coast (drawing from Alcatraz's vibe). To her shock, Olive loves her new school. It allows the kids to play to their strengths and gives her some self esteem.

As per the blurb the school RASCH is a cover for an elite group of misfits who fight crime and Olive and her little group are being trained ala spy training to stop crime. They love it. There are computer geniuses, inventors, natural athletes and more (Olive is trained in gymnastics) But when the 'Bling King' steals amazing diamonds and a cat pin from the school's main donor, Olive and her friends face the school closing unless they can stop the king.

I think the target age group will have a lot of fun with this. Olive and her friends are fun and relatable. I would have liked a bit more development of the others though (as this is definitely Olive's story and it's her close pov). I would have liked more description too because without the cover it was hard to tell there was as much diversity as there was.

Still, those are minor quibbles. This is cute and I'd like to see more. The arc I have has only initial sketches and line art. I bet it will be very cute when it's finalized.

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Happy publication day to The Misfits #1: A Royal Conundrum by Lisa Yee! This was such a fun book. It's set on an island off the coast of San Fransisco that used to house a prison. Of course, Alcatraz and one of my favorite movies, The Rock, is what immediately came to my mind.

12-year-old Olive Cobin Zang often feels invisible. Even her parents don't seem to notice her most of the time. She doesn't have any friends and she doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. The one person who understood her was her grandmother, but she is gone and Olive misses her so much. Out of the blue, Olive's mother transfers her to a boarding school on an island. At her new school, Olive meets and becomes friends with a group of fellow "misfits" who have also been searching for friendship and a place to belong. It turns out that these misfits have been selected to become crime fighters! If the school can't raise some money fast, it is in danger of closing. Olive doesn't want to lose the one place that finally feels like home. Can she and her fellow misfits catch a thief and keep their school from closing? This book is sure to be a hit with middle-grade readers!

Thank you to Random House Children's and NetGalley for a review copy of this book.

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Such a fun middle grade read! Fast paced and intriguing from page 1. A must add to classroom shelves! I know my 4th and 5th graders will love this book when it is published!

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This was such a fun and super quick read! Olive and her band of misfits has found family, twists and turns and a school based on an old prison like Alcatraz Island, such a cool setting. Also, the cliffhanger at the end of the book definitely has me ready to jump right into RASCH when the second book comes out!

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This book is the first in a series and I requested it for my daughter (4th grade) because she is typically a fan of middle-grade adventure novels.

While she enjoyed some elements of the book, particularly the mystery of who stole the jewels and the action surrounding catching the thief, she said the characters fell a bit flat to her and there were times the plot was boring, as it seemed to have excessive dialogue.

Overall, while it was not a bad read, she said she would not be eager to pick up the next book in the series.

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The Misfits: A Royal Conundrum by Newbery Honoree Lisa Yee and Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat is about a team of crime-fighting underdogs who are out to catch a notorious thief!

I think a lot of children will easily relate to the main character, Olive. I think this book will be very popular with its intended audience.

Most of the artwork in the ebook ARC was noted as an initial sketch or not final. I can’t wait to see the final artwork!

I loved the way the ending brought everything together and left the reader wondering how the second book in the series will work out. The Misfits is a great addition to classrooms and libraries! I especially think fans of City Spies and the Spy School series will love this book!

Thank you to Random House Children’s Books and @NetGalley for the gifted ebook ARC in exchange for an honest review.

#TheMisfits1ARoyalConundrum #NetGalley #childrenslit #childrensfiction #middlegradereads #middlegradebooks

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