Book Review: Katrin’s Chronicles: The Canon of Jacqueléne Dyanne Volume One by

18331524Title: Katrin’s Chronicles: The Canon of Jacquelene Dyanne, Vol. 1

Author: Valerie C. Woods

Genre: Psychic Girl Detectives, Middle Grade

Age Group: Middle Grade

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

On the verge of entering high school, precociously eloquent 13 -year-old Katrin DuBois feels it’s never too soon to start an autobiography. She decides to set the record straight about the outrageous rumors concerning certain adventures that began when she was in sixth grade. That’s when her elder sister, 8th grader J. Dyanne, began exhibiting extraordinary detecting skills, and emerging psychic abilities.

Set during the latter half of 1968, these African-American tweens live in a working class neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. They manage to thrive in a world of social change with multi-generational family support, creative quick-thinking and fearless inquisitiveness. The dog days of August find them prohibited by their parents from visiting the Central Library downtown because of the riots during the Democratic Convention. However, there’s plenty of adventure in their own neighborhood as they become swept up in family mysteries, neighborhood political schemes and the discovery of a surprising legacy of psychic, even supernatural, talent.

Katrin’s Chronicles: The Canon of Jacqueléne Dyanne, expands the girl detective genre to include these smart, sister sleuths.

First of all, let me start by saying this isn’t an easy read. The main character is a middle grader, but she has a remarkable vocabulary, so I’d only recommend this to advanced middle grade readers, or kids who get some help from their parents explaining difficult words. There’s even some Latin thrown in, which I thought was amusing, but could confuse some kids.

That aside, I actually really liked this book. Katrin is a mischievous, independent, intelligent child who doesn’t hesitate to back up her sister J. Dyanne in everything she does, and who eagerly accepts the existence of psychic abilities, her sister’s and her own. The interactions between the sisters formed the backbone of this book, and they’re a good backbone. Katrin and J. Dyanne help each other, support each other, and they have a great sense of humor.

What drew me in the most however, was the setting, namely Chicago of the 1960’s. I loved Katrin’s large family, their get-togethers, her aunt who ran the voodoo shop of sorts, that all really made the book come to life. The mystery at hand wasn’t extraordinary, but the addition of the girl’s psychic abilities, and the authentic setting made this an intriguing read.

If you’re in the mood for some historical mystery with adorable, heart-warming main characters, give this book a shot. I loved it, and can’t wait for the sequel.


  1. Thanks for your review!

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