Chocolate Crossing: The Mystery of the Missing Chocolate Gold by Riya Aarini

Chocolate Crossing: The Mystery of the Missing Chocolate Gold by Riya Aarini
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Middle Grade (8 – 12 y.o.), Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Sheriff Antoine and bank manager Quinn have their hands full when the chocolate gold suddenly goes missing from the Bank of Chocolate Currency. Suspicious grown-ups, including a hobbling witch and a wily magician, add mayhem to this mind-boggling mystery. Will the kids of Chocolate Crossing find the chocolate gold-and the thief who turns their town upside down?

There’s nothing sweet about stealing chocolate!
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The spectacular world building made me wish I could be part of Chocolate Crossing. All of the children who spent time there had clearly come up with a clear vision of what they wanted their town to be like. I adored the little details that were included like the narrator’s descriptions of the unusual form of currency these characters used or why birthdays in this community were even more exciting than they would be in the world of teenagers and grownups.

I did find myself wishing for more character development in this novella. The setting was such a memorable one that it was a little surprising to me to see that the same attention wasn’t paid to the characters. There was a lot of space here for the audience to get to know them better, and I would have happily gone with a higher rating if that had occurred.

Trying to solve the mystery of who stole the bars of chocolate gold was a great deal of fun. There were exactly the right number of clues for a middle grade audience, and they were shared just often enough to keep my interest levels high, too. I liked the fact that the narrator presented multiple options to the audience, especially since I could see good arguments for why all of them might be the right answer.

Chocolate Crossing: The Mystery of the Missing Chocolate Gold was a lighthearted read that I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys candy or chocolate.

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