Book Reviews

Review: Under Locker and Key by Alison K. Hymas

Today it’s my pleasure to be a stop on the 2017 Debut Authors Bash, a month long event that pairs bloggers and, you guessed it, debut authors together to spread the love and joy of new books! Hosted by the lovely Nichole, there are LOADS of awesome reviews, interviews and giveaways throughout December–so go check them out! Today, I’m here with a review.

30312779Eleven-year-old Jeremy Wilderson teams up with his rival crime fighter to stop the stealing spree that’s wreaking havoc on Scottsville Middle School.

Jeremy Wilderson is not a thief. In fact, he is his middle school’s one and only retrieval specialist. Confiscated cell phones, stolen lunch money—he’ll discretely retrieve it before the last bell rings. Business is good, and if it weren’t for the meddling of preteen private investigator Becca Mills, he’d be happier than a gym teacher on dodgeball day.

But a new job shatters his comfortable lifestyle. Now, thanks to Jeremy, the master key to the schools’ lockers is in the hands of an aspiring crime kingpin who doesn’t exactly have Jeremy’s strong moral character. Soon not even combination locks can protect the students’ textbooks and jackets. Retrieving the key is too big a job for one crime fighter, and only one person wants the key returned as much as Jeremy does: Becca Mills.

Lockers are being robbed, the teachers are looking for the culprit, and the only person Jeremy can turn to is the girl who most wants to see him in the principal’s office. Will Jeremy be able to trust Becca enough to get the key back in the right hands? Or could he end up in detention until the end of high school instead?

My thoughts:

  • Okay, I’m gonna spill a secret: I was in a pretty bad mood before starting this book. Seriously, I had a black cloud above my head ALL DAY. Then I started reading Locker and Key, and it made me snort-giggle within the first five pages.
  • The first thing you need to know about this book is that it’s whip smart. Jeremy’s voice LEAPS off the page. He is a great protagonist, one you can’t help but root for. Then there’s Becca, Jeremy’s rule-abiding opponent turned partner. It would have been easy to make her HORRIBLE, but although spiky, as Jeremy warms to her–so did I. I could see her point of view. I might not agree with it, but I can understand it.
  • This book feels tightly plotted and is edge-of-the-seat exciting. I really like how it grappled with right and wrong–in a fun way–but in a way that made me think! I adored J’s techniques and retrieval specialist philosophy.
  • If there’s one element that I ADORE in MG, it’s friendship. This book satisfied my needs in that department. There’s an excellently drawn relationship, one that veers from distrust and anger to mutual respect. I also loved Jeremy’s friendship with his two BFF’s, the excellently named Cash and Hack.
  • The dialogue is witty and hilarious, and adds to the overall ‘fun’ of the book. However, this doesn’t detract from the heartfelt and emotional moments, which really pack a punch.
  • I hope you can see from this review, just how much I enjoyed this book. In fact, as soon as I finished it I hopped on Goodreads and squealed when I realised that the sequel, Arts and Thefts, is due out in Feb next year.


I am so excited to say that I have a giveaway with three (yes three winners), open to my lovely blog readers in the US and Canada! One winner will receive a copy of Locker and Key, and two others will receive swag bags! To enter, please click here.


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6 thoughts on “Review: Under Locker and Key by Alison K. Hymas

  1. This looks incredibly fun and something me and my 9 yr old son would both love. He loves mystery and humor. Some of my favorite debuts this year were Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus(hilarious yet also manages to make you want to cry), The Star Thief and Karma Khullar’s Mustache.

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