Mystery of the Green Goblin: Fran Orenstein
Events happen for a reason. Sometimes things or people come into your life and you have no idea why. Alexander Cooper is an average kid that loves having fun just like anyone else. But, Alexander has trouble making good friends and finds himself hanging out with two kids in his school known as Trash and Mungo. Halloween is coming up and you know how kids love to play pranks on adults and other kids. But, what happens when trick or mischief night turns deadly as someone dressed in a green goblin costume decides to take matters into his/her hands and the end result is deadly?
Alexander Cooper is 11 and hates math. Well, lots of kids hate math but some have a really good reason. Alexander has a teacher that he and everyone else calls THE WORM! His real name is Mr. Wormhead and he is mean, cruel and appears to hate kids. But, someone decided on mischief night to do more than throw eggs at his new car, blow up his mailbox and teach this teacher a lesson. Someone did something that sent him to the hospital but before we get to that let’s find out more about Alexander, his brother Jessie, his mother and why he never seems happy.
The week before Halloween as Alexander walked to school he became ill, felt sick at the thought of Mr. Worm’s class. At times he was so upset he could barely function. His mother was busy working at the local newspaper and his older brother had his own friends and Alexander often felt alone. Added in his father was MIA In Afghanistan leaving him with no real male figure to guide and defend him. Keeping to himself except when he decided to hang out with Mungo and Trash the two kids no mother would want their son to be friends with yet they did something no one else did: they accepted Alex as Alex without passing judgment. So, here is where things get really interesting as Alex wants to go out on Halloween to trick or treat but who will he go with? Trash and Mungo want him to help play pranks but wait and see what happens when someone dressed in the same costume as Alex is seen at the home of the Worm and the end result leaves Alex in more trouble than anyone his age should endure. With the police breathing down his neck you won’t believe who comes to his rescue.
Enter Huby sounds like Ruby who is a kid that comes to rescue Alex from himself and others but exactly what is he, where did he come from and why does he always manage to disappear? That is the imagination and creativity of author Fran Orenstein who is the only one that can answer that and she is keeping it to herself. You the reader will seriously fall in love with Huby as he warns everyone about that on November 2 something will happen. He tries to help Alexander out of his fix because someone blew up poor Mr. Wormhead’s mailbox, caused him to be fatally injured and Alex is suspect number one for the murder. But, working at the hardware store proves helpful as Mr. Ryan protects and comes to his aid when the police try and question him with a parent present. Meet some other great kids, Aaron, Zay, Sarah and Emma who are great kids but Alex has yet to connect with them. But, when things get heated and Alex needs someone to back him up, why do they go to the police to tell them about Trash and Mungo? What happens when Huby tries to warn Alex about events that might happen? Just how does he know Sherlock Holmes and Mickey Mantle?
Math class proves horrible one afternoon and timid and shy Alex goes off on Mr. Wormhead. Playing a joke on his class he gives a test that is quite unique and no one thought it funny except Mr. Wormhead. But, even though he hates kids, or you think he does, there is something in his past that Huby relates to Alex in the present that changes it all. So, why did someone kill the teacher? Why pin it on Alexander?
Huby knows things about Alex that he does not know. He even knows things about his father but that’s for another story and another day. When Detective Slater and the Postal Inspector show up at the hardware store you won’t believe what happens. So, why is the police following him? How come there is a black car tailing poor Alex? Just what did they think he did?
When things get difficult and his mother finally finds out what happens will Jessie his brother defend him or will he do what he always does? Trying to piece together what really happened, where a suitcase that Trash and Mungo stashed away might be he teams up with his new friends to try and figure out what happened? But, Huby is right there and one group went to the Variety Store to see who might have bought the same costume and mask. The next group would take the old man who saw the kid with the goblin costume. Pretending to write a story for the school paper would be their cover. What about Huby and Alex? They would take the third point or place and hopefully uncover the mystery of the green goblin and find the suitcase with the explosives. This story tests loyalty, friendships, trusts, understanding and forgiveness as just some of the lessons learned by all of the characters young and adult. What happens when a mother is so caught up in her own world that she fails to see what is happening to her sons right in front of her? What happens when both Alex and Jessie want to know more about their father? Why did she hide the fact she had videos of his baseball games and more?
As the pieces just might fall together and someone just might come to help Alex out of this mess the ending will surprise readers as Alex comes face to face with the Green Goblin but will he escape what he has planned? Who is behind the mask? What happens to Huby? Will Alex ever be nightmare free? Will Alex ever realize that he is smart, special and does not need to prove himself to anyone not even himself? Let’s hope our creative author brings Alex, his friends and Huby back again to solve another case and do some more detecting. Characters that are unique, well crafted and a teacher who was not given a chance to defend himself or learn from his mistakes but young adults that might take away many lessons when they learn more about Mr. Wormhead. Did he deserve what he got? Is there an excuse for being mean to students? Teachers need to understand that each student is different, not everyone learns the same way and their job is to address the needs of everyone. I know this firsthand after teaching for over 36 years. Let’s give this FIVE HOT AND GOLDEN PIZZAS FOR THE JUNIOR DETECTIVES
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/ MJ Magazine