The Harlem Charade

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Book Information
Rating: Excellent
Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Natasha Tarpley
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Year: 2017
ISBN: 9780545783873
Pages: 320

Jin, Alex, and Elvin are three young teens living in Harlem, New York. When Elvin’s grandfather is attacked in a community garden, the three kids band together to find out the motive behind the cruel act. As they investigate, they discover valuable secret paintings, a politician’s plot that could ruin their beloved neighborhood, and how everything is connected. Risking their lives, the new group of friends is able to save the rare masterpieces, as well as their community’s livelihood.

This middle-grade read is filled with action and mystery. At the same time, author Natasha Tarpley shows what the power of art and the strength of community can accomplish. Harlem is a place rich in history and culture. Although the story is fictional, Tarpley pulls inspiration from actual events and locations, giving the book an added layer of interest. The diverse cast of characters is relatable, and those who enjoy suspense will find this book very satisfying.