[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Peabody Pond" by Brian J. Heinz.]
4 out of 4 stars
Connor and Otis, captain and crew of the decrepit rowboat H. M. S. Wonder, are ready for a summer full of adventure on their beloved Peabody Pond. But their plans for fishing are quickly cast aside by a fight for their lives. A vial of experimental hormone accidentally released into the water has monstrous effects on the local pond critters, and only Connor and Otis know about the danger. These honor students from Pendrake Middle school are not known for lying, but their quest to find answers about the vial and the kidnapping of geneticist Dr. Wilfred Lambert has them wading neck-deep in deceit.
When the thugs responsible for the kidnapping turn their attention to the boys, Conner and Otis will have to seek help from unlikely allies. What started as a secret mission to uncover scientific truth will turn into an eye-opening journey about relationships and learning to look beyond a person's exterior. Will Connor and Otis be able to save their new friends from disaster? Or will they find themselves swallowed by the mutants that lie beneath the surface of Peabody Pond?
Peabody Pond by Brian J. Heinz might be a perfect find for readers looking for an exciting middle-grade adventure novel. I loved the science-fiction elements of this story and the author's ability to add valuable life lessons to an excellent escapade. I also enjoyed the suspense built into the plot early on, and the unknown consequences of the chemical had me on the edge of my seat. Young readers will appreciate the short chapters that make the book flow smoothly and provide the perfect stopping points along the way.
The book featured a noteworthy cast of characters that made it easy to engage with the story. I loved Connor's down-to-earth personality and his ability to assess the situations included in the plot. He provided a positive example of leadership and was open to learning from his mistakes. I also appreciated Otis for the comic relief his personality quirks offered, which helped ease the reader back down after the more intense scenes throughout the book. The author also included various antagonists that presented multiple challenges and opportunities for character growth as the plot progressed. I loved how dealing with the antagonists gave Connor and Otis a chance to develop new perspectives, learn about empathy, and evaluate their consciences.
There was nothing that I disliked about this book. Peabody Pond was well written and edited, with very few errors. Therefore, I have no reason to give it anything but four out of four stars. Since this book targets a middle-grade audience, there was very little graphic content. Still, there were a few instances of borderline swearing and a few scenes of violent death. I'd recommend this to upper middle-grade readers as the protagonists were just out of eighth grade. The book's epilogue opened the door for a possible sequel, and I would love to see more adventures out on Peabody Pond.
NOTE: Online Book Club sent the following to the author:
“The review of your book is marked as featured. This means it is being featured on the page OnlineBookClub.org/reviews/ and as a sticky topic in the forums. It is set to be featured until August 20, 2021.”
Peabody Pond can be purchased online through the author's 4RV Publishing page or from other online stores.