Source: From Netgalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
Everyone has secrets…
Who killed Annabel Harper?
When a popular teen beauty’s body is discovered by the pool at an elite tennis club, the regulars are shocked—especially twelve-year-old Evie and her best friend, Chelsea. While everyone else is haunted by Annabel’s death, Evie and Chelsea jump on the case, dogging the footsteps of the lead detective as he investigates. As temperatures soar ver the summer, tensions rise, fingers are pointed, and a heroic act sets in motion a chain of events readers will never see coming.
This book was SO good! The Underdogs is about best friends who try to find out what happened to Annabel (a girl they know at the country club), how she died, and who is responsible. The story is told from the point of view of Chelsea, an adopted girl who is always energetic but has had some bad things happen in her past. She and her friend Evie are going to get to the bottom of the mystery, with the help of a detective who may or may not know they are spying on him and all his movements.
The author tells the story by alternating the timeline, you get snippets of 'Before' and 'After', before the anything happened and after Annabel was discovered dead. This book had a lot more than a mystery though. It was a mystery at its core, but it also addressed bullying and self-loathing, friendship, and even abuse. It was very deep for a Middle Grade read and it was all amazing.
Chelsea and Evie build their friendship through this summer sitting around as their parents work at the country club, they are pretty much invisible and know everyone's secrets and they know they can help the detective figure out all the answers. But they have to deal with mean boys, Evie doubting that she will ever be anything more than lonely and fat, with parents forgetting them, and in Chelsea's case with her very strange and painful past. There is just SO much here.
The story line was very well crafted and the characters were all interesting - there was mystery behind all of them, all of which was put together at the very end. AND THE ENDING! Wow, just WOW. So you know how almost all mysteries have that beautiful twist ending? Well this one takes it up a notch, and the best part about it is that it doesn't even have to do with the murderer resolution... yea I have piqued your interest right?!... You should really read this book to find out!