The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley, is categorized as an adult mystery novel, but it is very accessible to tween and teen readers. Part of that is because the protagonist, Flavia de Luce, is eleven years old. There is a murder, but it happens off stage, and there is no gore involved. The focus of the story is Flavia’s solving of the crime, getting in the way of the police, tormenting her sisters, and reveling in science. Since it is set in the 1950s, there is a bit of cultural history involved, and that could make for good conversations. It is also first in a series, so there are more Flavia adventures for readers who click with her!
Phoebe’s review follows. I will let her provide more details.–
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley, is very good. One of my favorite things about the book is the main character, Flavia de Luce. She is an eleven-year-old girl who is exceptionally smart. I love books with a strong, awesome, female lead, and, in this book, she is around my age, which makes it even more inspiring. This book is set during the 1950s, which makes it even more impressive that Flavia is, and is able to be, so smart. No one tries to deny the fact that she can be, or is, really smart.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a murder mystery. It is suspenseful, and I like that no matter how hard the police try to get Flavia to stop investigating the murder, she always seems to get information. It is interesting how all the characters do contribute to the story, and in some cases, the murder investigation,—even if they are minor characters.
Flavia has two sisters—Daphne and Ophelia. Throughout the story, they don’t really do anything; they just sit around reading or playing the piano. But even they have their moments–and if she didn’t have sisters, Flavia wouldn’t have anyone to torment with her poison experiments.
This book showed me to look and pay attention to all the little details because they might become important later in the story. In Sweetness, there are a lot of minor events and characters that, at first, you think have nothing to do with the story, but, then, it seems that the whole book revolves around that one thing.
I really enjoyed The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes murder mysteries, and books with a strong, awesome, female lead.