Friday, January 9, 2015

Review: "Shouldn't You Be in School?" - Lemony Snicket

"Shouldn't You Be in School?" by Lemony Snicket
Series: All the Wrong Questions #3
Genre: Middle Grade, mystery
Published on September 30, 2014
Published by Little, Brown Books
Pages: 325
Read From: 12.25.14 - 12.26.14

Before you think anything at all about "Shouldn't You Be in School?" ask yourself these questions: 
Do you smell smoke? 
Are schoolchildren in danger? 
There's a witness to a notorious fire, but he appears to have gone missing. 
Also, these fish tanks are empty. And these books are blank. 
Wait, those aren't questions. What is going on?


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Still missing Brett Helquist's illustrations with a passion! But I'm starting to like this style little by little, and how the panels all hint to different events and important things in the book.

Characters: I'm just going to say this now, because we all know how it feels: when you're reviewing the third book in a series, it's hard to think of new things to say about the characters that you haven't said already - especially when said characters just continue to be awesome. I can't iterate enough how much I love Lemony Snicket as protagonist and narrator. He is a child after my own heart. I love his sarcasm, cleverness, and appreciation for the classic. I love his blunt honesty, his acknowledgement of how tragic and sad the world is, but his stubbornness to refuse to give in and not fight - even though he keeps losing. His companions - his "associates" - are all equally awesome and wonderful. I love, love, love Moxie and the two brothers who drive the only cab in the town. S. Theodora continues to be annoying and frustrating, but I actually came to feel sorry for her in this installment. She's not very good at what she does, and then it turns out that there's much, much more going on than Snicket realized, and you pity S. Theodora - while still being a little frustrated at her for not "manning up" and trying anyway. Ellington continues to be a complete mystery; I honestly don't know if I trust her or not.

The Romance: There's sort of a little crush going on between Snicket and Ellington, though it's hard to tell if maybe Snicket isn't just playing her to discover what she's up to.

Plot: Hangfire is blowing places up! And the school children of Stain'd-by-the-Sea are not safe! What is Hangfire after? Why is he forcing kids into school? Are these the right questions? So "Shouldn't You Be in School?" might be my favorite in the series so far, because we get answers for questions we have in the previous series! We discover 100% what VFD stands for - and more importantly, what exactly their mission is. The latter is what always bothered me the most: what exactly did VFD do? We also gets hints as what happened to VFD that caused it to become what it is in A Series of Unfortunate Events. There's more references to old characters - like Josephine and Count Olaf! And while old questions are answered, none of the new ones are. Is Snicket going to have to write a whole new series to answer those? ;-) Even though there's not a whole lot answered, there's a lot more build-up for what I assume will be the finale in the next book. And I can't wait to see what happens!

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: First person, past tense. Snicket is such an awesome narrator! I love his sarcasm! So, so much fun!

Content: None.

Conclusion: Frustrating? Typical? Shrouded in mystery? It was all these things. I want the sequel! I want things answered! I want to know if I can trust Ellington! I want to know what Hangfire is up to! And more importantly - I want to know if he's someone we've met in A Series of Unfortunate Events (because I get the sneaking suspicion that he is) - and I also want to know what's happening to Kit Snicket! "Shouldn't You Be in School?" was everything it ought to be, and more. I loved it.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-boy read, all ages, fans of Lemony Snicket!

Others in the All the Wrong Questions Series:
1)"Who Could That Be at This Hour?"
2)"When Did You See Her Last?"
3)"Shouldn't You Be in School?"

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