Tuesday, June 6, 2017

MG Mystery/Adventure: The Door in the Alley (The Explorers #1) by Adrienne Kress

25268434The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format:  Hardcover

Number of Pages: 246
Published:  April 25th, 2017
Source: Library
Why I wanted to read this:   Looked to be a rousing adventure.

Opening line:  This story begins, like most stories do, with a pig wearing a teeny hat."  

12 yo Sebastian is literal, logical, and practical.  Each day he follows the same routine and likes it that way.   That is until he and his cousin Arthur get into a fight and Arthur huff's off, leading Sebastian to follow him down an alley with a mysterious sign for The Explorers Society.   Once Sebastian's home, he can't help thinking about the sign and his curiosity takes him past the alley again.  This time he rescues a pig wearing a hat, which he tries to return to the Explorers Society.   Once inside, he is questioned by the director and is sentenced for trespassing, despite being invited in.  His punishment, minding the society and cleaning.  Sebastian tries to set a good example, do all the right things because he feels like he's finally found a place that he fits in, but in order to stay, he's been tasked with breaking a rule.  Still eager to please, Sebastian tries to break a rule and finds a box with pictures of people referred to as the Fillipendulous Society, members who were thrown out of The Explorers Society.   Meanwhile, Evie"s across town attending another dinner away from the orphanage at the meek, boring Anderson's House, until some men barge in and demand that the Anderson's turn over a key.  Evie barely escapes with a letter from Mrs. Anderson and a request to find the Explorers Society, which is where she runs into Sebastian.   The two team up using the mysterious box of Sebastian's and the letter from  Evie's grandfather, the infamous Alistair Drake of the Fillipendulous Society.   What ensues is an adventure to locate the remaining members of the Fillipendulous Society and rescue Evie's grandfather.  

The Explorers is similar to The Name of This Book Is A Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch, with both books being filled with humor, adventure and a narrator that sneaks into the dialogue from time to time.  The Explorers has plenty of excitement, mystery and two likable characters who learn a lot from one another, despite being somewhat opposites in their personalities.  It's refreshing to have a character like Sebastian who enjoys education so much. So much so that when Evie suggests that he skip school to help her track down the Fillipendulous Society members, he almost has a panic attack.  It actually weighs on his conscience.  Evie does help him tremendously in loosening up and seeing that sometimes logic can't answer all of your question's and you're left with taking a risk.  Well, in Sebastian's case a calculated risk.  Evie and Sebastian also develop this sweet friendship, and how cute is Sebastian when "Evie looked at him with one of her totally unreadable expressions.  And then suddenly she smiled, and it felt like the sun breaking through dark stormy clouds, and Sebastian felt a wave of relief wash over him."    Adorable.  There's also a hint of magic with one of the members of the Fillipendulous Society seeming to control animals or communicate with them somehow, but it isn't really clear yet.  Overall, lots of adventure and perilous situations as the two try to outwit the bad guys who are after the key as well.    

Edited to add:  There are lovely illustrations throughout, with my favorite being the moment that Evie meets Sebastian in the alley.  


  1. Sounds like a great story. I love the first line. Glad you shared it.

  2. Great review. I like how you set up the story of these two wandering souls. I can't wait for the next book to find out what happened to one of the kids. Love the humor.

    1. Hi Sue, thanks for leaving a comment. Can't wait to see what happens next too, kinda fond of that character.

  3. The cover is great. The story sounds like lots of fun. I really like the cover and I am glad there is a lot of humor and adventure in the story. Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. This sounds lovely! I'll have to check it out. I'm a total sucker for books that have illustrations sprinkled in!