I picked up Potkin and Stubbs as it is the Middle Grade Monthly pick for September 2020, with author Sophie Green joining Gavin (How to Train Your Gavin) and Jade (Jadeyraereads) for the liveshow, and I am happy that I did.
Title: Potkin and Stubbs
Author: Sophie Green
Illustrator: Karl James Mantford
Publisher: Piccadilly Press
Audience: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal
(Taken from Goodreads)
In the corrupt metropolis of Peligan City, Lil Potlin, a determined young reporter, is on the lookout for a scoop. One rainy night she meets Nedly, the ghost of a boy that no one else can see. Nedly has been looking for someone to believe in him ever since the investigation into his disappearance went cold. When they discover that his death is connected to a series of mysterious murders, Lil Potkin and Nedly set out to expose those responsible, with the help of a down-on-his-luck private investigator, who might hold a clue to Lil’s hidden past.
Potkin and Stubbs is set in a semi-dystopian world with both a corrupt government and corrupt law enforcement, which definitely sets the scene for this atmospheric middle grade.
Our main character Lil Potkin wants to become a reporter for the underground newspaper ‘The Klaxon’ much like her favourite columnist Randall Collar. And the scope that she has been waiting for happens to appear in her room. Lil is a stubborn individual who knows what she wants and how to get it, which comes in handy when dealing with former police officer Absolom Mandrel (Abe), who does not particularly want to help solve the mystery of Nedly Stubbs. Nedly Stubbs is a young boy who appeared as a ghost that only Lil can see; he has no idea what has happened to him, and it is up to Lil to get to the bottom of the mystery.
I liked seeing the dynamics between all the characters and the way that they interacted, especially as only Lil can see Nedly, which adds an extra level of complexity to the dynamics, as Abe thinks she is talking to herself half the time. The relationship between Lil and Nedly is lovely to see as she never doubts that she can help him solve the mystery of his death and does everything in her power to see it through, even when it gets dangerous. Abe is the character that has the most development throughout the book as he moves from just tolerating Lil to coming to care and protect her towards the end. Which is something that I enjoyed seeing as the story progressed and left more room for further development in the next two instalments.
Sophie Green does a fantastic job with the atmosphere she creates, as you get a real feel for Peligan City and the creepy vibes that come with it. Her descriptions allow you to become fully immersed in the city and the feelings that it brings. These feelings are only added to by her description of Nedly and the shivers that occur when he is around. You can truly imagine what it feels like to be in the proximity of Nedly.
Potkin and Stubbs is the first mystery/detective middle grade that I have read, and I will certainly be reading more if they are as good as this. I can’t wait to see the direction of the series as there are lots of unanswered questions. I have come up with some theories of my own and I can’t wait to see if I am right.
Buy Potkin and Stubbs: Bookshop.org