Those of us trapped in the suburban outposts of NYC could only dream of that shining city where a mystery seemed to lurk around every corner. Hands up, who else planned to run away to a museum? Fans of E.L. Konisburg's classic and those who love of New York City history, a taste for mystery and appreciation of kickass, multitalented teen heroines should try the Kiki Strike series by Kirsten Miller.

Ananka Fishbein seems like a hopeless case, with poor grades and rotten self esteem despite her brilliant mind and bookish tendencies. All is bleak until the glamorous, dangerous Kiki Strike shows up for a week of class at their ritzy prep school and promptly disappears, setting rumors ablaze. Ananka is soon asked to join the Irregulars, a team of ultrasmart girls going undercover as renegade Girl Scouts. Deedee's a chemistry genius, Luz a mechanical prodigy who can build you anything from dumpster-dived parts, Oona a stealthy hacker and lockpick, and Betty, mistress of a thousand disguises. After much bickering and a few explosions, the team is embroiled in a jewel heist and royal scandal set in the secret underground tunnels of New York dubbed the Shadow City. Miller excels at complicated relationships, deep characterization, and weaving dozens of odd and curious details into an exciting narrative. The Irregulars reunite in The Empress's Tomb, which features a hungry ghost, attack squirrels, kidnappings, art forgery, and mummies. Most chapters are interspersed with such useful how-tos as "How to Foil a Kidnapping" and "How to Spot a Fake Diamond," thus doubling as a nifty little detective handbook.

Pick up Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City and The Empress's Tomb at your local book emporium, and visit KikiStrike.Com for the latest news. Can't get enough? Ananka's Diary will provide a daily dose of weird goodness.


P.S. Longtime Friend-of-BUST Tara McPherson does all the art for the Kiki Strike books and media--how cool is that?

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