Monday, May 19, 2014

Book Review: The Crystal Ball

American Girl Mystery

The Crystal Ball: A Rebecca Mystery by Jacqueline Dembar Greene


Are you intrigued by fortune tellers? I know I'm curious, but that's all. In this story, we learn from the Rubins and Mr. Rossi that many people throughout time have consulted those that appear to have "the sight" to help them make decisions and many other things. This one turned out to be not very nice or helpful (I prefer Professor Trelawney). I liked this book and how it was solved.


The parts about Houdini were very interesting. Finding out his real name made me want to know more about him. I found a great website. This was a good book and a fun read for both the history (Houdini) and culture (early New York City), but I'm not sure it will stay in my top 10 as we read more.


It's no fun having your favorite things disappear. I lose enough on my own without the help of thieves and pickpockets. It was neat to have Rebecca (with the help of her one sister) find what was missing; but I was not happy she almost lost her rabbit brooch to her sister over a bet. I liked this book a lot.


Mr. Rossi is so very nice I didn't like that he was hurt and being taken advantage of. Rebecca really saved the day in many ways for her family, friends, and neighbors. Plus she learned to share, not jump to conclusions, and not to be so full of pride. Good book.


This was a fun read. Odd things start to happen to Rebecca's family and neighbors when a strange boy starts hanging around her dad's shop. Then the evidence seems to reveal her cousin, Josef, to be the culprit. Rebecca does her very best not to think Josef could be responsible and ends up solving the case. I'm not sure I understood everything because we have only read Rebecca's "Meet" book, but this was a good one.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really like Rebecca Rubin as a character. Her family dynamic is interesting and comfortable at the same time. I must read more of her books. In fact, I highly suggest you read all of Rebecca's stories before getting into the mystery...there are characters, events, and information that make sense to someone who has read the series, but are spoilers (and points of minor confusion) for those who have not (waves hand).

Mystery has been my favorite genre since before I could read (my mom and dad read Hardy Boys books to me before bed) with Franklin W Dixon and Carolyn Keene leading me to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. I lean toward the "cozy" mysteries; this doesn't reach cozy - it is a nice sweet story.

The reader gets to follow the Rubin family and their neighbors as events unfold after seeing a performance by Harry Houdini. I think this could have been titled "Rebecca Saves the Day."

Rebecca is a friendly, helpful, generous, and sometimes boastful/selfish girl. In this mystery we see her make some good and bad decisions. The mystery is very basic - who is stealing from the families in the apartment building? Sadly, the "red herring" is a member of Rebecca's family and she must do her best to find the true villain(s).

The side story is a bet Rebecca makes with one of her sisters. She makes and takes the challenge out of hubris/pride/ego.

As an adult who loves mystery novels, this is an easy read where none of the story lines seems to take primary control, but all contribute from beginning to end. However, thinking back to when I was the target age reading mysteries...this is a good place to start. Not too easy nor too hard. Definitely not too scary. I really liked it.

Best wishes and Happy Reading,


  1. Wow, that book looks cool! Nice post, I might ask my Mom to get the book for me!
    Grace xxx ♥☻

    1. It was fun. I think it is still marked at $6.95. You might find it at a used book store or the library too.