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Saturday, February 19, 2022

Upbeat MG Novel Entertaining and Empowering

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Ashley Simon-Hockheimer loves reporting the news. She's been on her school's news crew since she was in second grade. Now that she's in sixth, she should be the undisputed star of The News at Nine. If it weren't for that unfortunate decision to film a teacher doing something embarrassing, she would be the lead anchor, not cringe-y Harry E. Levin. Ugh. 

Tired of watching from the sidelines, Ash and two of her friends decide to create their own show, The Underground News. They don't have a fancy sponsor to gift them sophisticated equipment like the school does, but that doesn't mean they can't make a quality program that will attract lots of viewers. All they need to make their little homemade show go viral is a big, juicy story...

When the girls stumble across a story that could have a potentially huge impact on their school and community, they can't wait to break it. While they race to verify their information, they have to contend with dodgy sources, friendship drama, and fending off Harry, who's about to steal their scoop for himself. Who will break the story first? Will Ashley finally get the chance to shine as lead anchor? Or will her nemesis steal her glory once again?

Elissa Brent Weissman's The Length of a String was one of my favorite reads of 2021. I wanted to read more from her, so I picked up The Renegade Reporters since it looked like a fun book. It is both of those things; it's also a timely story about the hot-button issue of online privacy. The novel looks at the pros and cons of tracking people's movements online, providing a perfect springboard for thoughtful discussion in a classroom or at home. It also shows the benefits of teamwork, learning from one's mistakes, and using your voice for good. While it does get a little far-fetched, overall The Renegade Reporters is a warm, upbeat read that is entertaining and empowering. I enjoyed it.

Note: I listened to this book on audio, an experience I highly recommend. The narrator, Keylor Leigh, does an excellent job. Her voice is smooth and easy on the ear. I'll definitely look for more books with her as the reader.

(Readalikes: Hm, I can't think of anything. Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find


  1. This sounds fun, Susan. I haven't listened to very many MG books, but need to give it a try.

  2. This sounds so good! I can't think of anything that it's like, so unique.

  3. Oh, this sounds perfect for upper elementary and middle grade. Good issues, a fun topic, and friendship are a great combination.

  4. Sounds like a fun story. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  5. Fun! This sounds like something my daughter would love.

  6. This does sound like a very fun read. :)


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