Title: Friday Barnes: No Rules
Author: R.A. Spratt
Publisher: Penguin Random House/Puffin
Published: 7th May 2019
Synopsis: What if every clue points in the wrong direction?
Friday Barnes has been deported to Switzerland! With their in-school detective gone, Highcrest Academy has descended into chaos. Someone’s fired all the teachers!
The Headmaster claims it wasn’t him, and suspicion soon turns to Ian Wainscott, but Friday won’t stand by and let her favourite nemesis take the blame. Apart from being innocent (probably), he’s seriously good-looking. There’s also the problem of the new vice principal and his questionable teaching methods. It’s hard to take someone seriously when they wear tie-dyed t-shirts. Can Friday save Ian’s scholarship? Can she find the prankster before they bring down the school? Can she run the cross country? She’s certainly going to try . . . to do the first two, anyway.
The fourth Friday Barnes book begins with Friday being deported – she was born in Switzerland and her parents forgot to apply for Australian citizenship for her – so her name is Swiss too. It doesn’t take long before she gets home though and is faced with a school in chaos. All the Highcrest teachers have been fired, and VP Pete has introduced new teaching methods that are at odds with the other teachers. But is he hiding something, and what does he have planned for Highcrest? Only Friday Barnes can find out!
Friday and Melly are back at their investigative tricks – trying to find out who would want the teachers fired and why they would frame Ian Wainscott – whom Melanie insists is Friday’s boyfriend.
I love Friday’s attempts to get out of cross country too – and the mystery thickens when the trail causes trouble – can Friday reveal the real culprit and convince the Headmaster he’s wrong about Ian?
With her usual humour and bluntness, Friday interrogates students and investigates side cases for other students, and negotiates payment and her ability to stay at Highcrest with the forever suffering Headmaster, who relies on Friday to investigate what is happening yet at the same time, wishes she’d keep her head down – and on that, they are constantly agreeing. Friday’s one constant parental figure is Uncle Bernie, who is always ready to help Friday in her shenanigans.
I’m loving this series – it’s great to see a female character be who she is – awkward, shy and into school and all kinds of subjects from history to science, and is always ready with facts as needed. Characters like Friday expand what we expect from our literary heroes and show that every experience and every type of characters can work effectively and tell a good story. It also shows kids that there are people like them – that the world isn’t divided into popular and unpopular kids. There are so many different types of kids and personalities.
This series brings boarding schools, mystery and so many things together for readers to life and ensures that the journey is never ending – it is a series that definitely needs to be read in order. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.