Fleur Hitchcock
(Nosy Crow)
When Scarlett turns eleven, a man turns up on her doorstep with a box, full of belongings from her father. Her father, the notorious thief, who has been dead for many years. Why has it turned up only now? And why has her father left Scarlett all his tools and old bits of paper? Is there more to it? And why are others wanting to get hold of the box so badly? As she starts to work out the clues kept in the box, Scarlet begins to unravel the secrets of her father’s life, and it is anything but what she expected.
Dear Scarlett  is a great mystery adventure which offers a refreshing mix of intrigue, danger, real-life issues, with a good dose of humour and a puzzle that will keep the reader guessing to the very end.
Scarlett is a great protagonist and readers will feel much empathy towards her. She does not wallow in self-pity despite a rather difficult early life and the many challenges she still faces at school and her kind, brave and perceptive narrative voice will win the heart of readers. They are also witness to her developing friendship with Ellie, who gradually turns from annoying step-sister-to-be to partner in crime and best friend. In fact, there is a quite positive representation of step-families in this book, which is can unfortunately be rather rare in realistic fiction for tweens.
Scary and poignant at times, but often also very, very funny, Dear Scarlett is a hugely entertaining journey of discovery, where Scarlett’s quest to find the truth about her father mirrors her gradual better understanding of who she really is herself.

Dear Scarlett is an original read which will delight girl readers particularly, and especially those who enjoy strong lead girl characters without being “girly”.  The added mystery around her father’s past and the quality of the writing gives Dear Scarlett the edge of many offerings for tween girls.
Warmly recommended.

You can read the first chapter of Dear Scarlett here:

Source: review copy from publisher