Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach

Everywhere Hero goes she gets made fun of by her name. This time when she moves she is humiliated the worst of all the times before. A girl in her classroom actually says that her dog is named Hero too. The silence is deafening before the uproar of laughter ensues. Hero couldn't have just five minutes of no one knowing her name. No! It's all thanks to her parents who met in college at a class that taught Shakespeare. And lucky her her father knows everything about everything that deals with Shakespeare because that's his job. She can't count how many times he has quoted Shakespeare.

Her mother on the other hand is actually a pretty normal mom who is always positive everything will be alright. While Hero's personality is a little bit on the serious side. Well, a lot on the serious side. You would be too if you were teased all the time. While she had to suffer from her name from the Shakespearean work of Much Ado About Nothing her sister, Beatrice, got the better end of the stick. She's instantly popular wherever she goes. Her name doesn't limit her at all.

Then her mother does her favor but Hero doesn't know it yet. She ends up meeting her neighbor who gradually tells her about the Murphy Diamond in her hose. How no one could find it (the police) and everyone believes it's still there. Her and a set of boys and she actually can say she has friends. Aaron is a first grader who she met on the bus on the first day and who she helped get to class. HE IS ADORABLE! She holds his hand and I'm just freaking out on how cute that is. Danny Cordova gets interested in her. He's the most popular boy in school and has this no care attitude. His father happens to be the chief of police.

The mystery in this story is intertwined with Shakespearean history. It's not just the mystery of where the diamond is but who the real Shakespeare is. I know there was a movie about that but unfortunately I never got to see it. The Shakespeare we know is a poor merchant but has the soul of a poet but with no formal education it's very possible he isn't the true Shakespeare. The book explores that as well as who could be the actual Shakespeare through history. It just kind of sneaks in there... the history of Shakespeare. It gets you interested in that time. It's pretty sly in doing that.

Hero was a great character. I love the mopey types of main characters and I haven't read a middle school book in awhile so it made me like her even more. I really wanted there to be a second book for this. I'm always okay with books ending but I want more mysteries. Whenever there are any mystery stories there is usually more books behind it if you think about it. The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, and others. So that's why I wanted more. What initially drew me to this book was the cover. It felt very Bauldelairy and I was right! Because the illustrator is the same. It's Brett Helquist. I know my illustrators. Well after 13 books I would hope I would know who he was by now. So great mystery for middle school. There was one part that I saw coming and I really don't like when I see things coming but other than that it was a solid read.


  1. Nice to meet a Sherlockian!

    I would recommend 'The House of Silk' by Anthony Horowitz. Horowitz is a great writer and did a nice job capturing the essence of the canon.

    Check out my review .



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