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Clues in the Shadows: A Molly Mystery

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Molly still does her her patriotic duty to help America win World War Two, but in the spring of 1945 she's weary and troubled. Dad is home safe . . . but he seems different now. Her favorite Red Cross leader abruptly quits. Her archrival, Ronnie Vanko, is driving her crazy. And now someone is sneaking into the backyard shed and messing with the scrap she's collecting for t Molly still does her her patriotic duty to help America win World War Two, but in the spring of 1945 she's weary and troubled. Dad is home safe . . . but he seems different now. Her favorite Red Cross leader abruptly quits. Her archrival, Ronnie Vanko, is driving her crazy. And now someone is sneaking into the backyard shed and messing with the scrap she's collecting for the latest wartime drive. Who is the intruder: Ronnie, her own brother Ricky--or a prowler she spied in the night?


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Molly still does her her patriotic duty to help America win World War Two, but in the spring of 1945 she's weary and troubled. Dad is home safe . . . but he seems different now. Her favorite Red Cross leader abruptly quits. Her archrival, Ronnie Vanko, is driving her crazy. And now someone is sneaking into the backyard shed and messing with the scrap she's collecting for t Molly still does her her patriotic duty to help America win World War Two, but in the spring of 1945 she's weary and troubled. Dad is home safe . . . but he seems different now. Her favorite Red Cross leader abruptly quits. Her archrival, Ronnie Vanko, is driving her crazy. And now someone is sneaking into the backyard shed and messing with the scrap she's collecting for the latest wartime drive. Who is the intruder: Ronnie, her own brother Ricky--or a prowler she spied in the night?

30 review for Clues in the Shadows: A Molly Mystery

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    The American Girls books never cease to amaze me. This mystery - which takes place after the initial Molly books and is for older readers - digs into post-traumatic stress syndrome (known as "battle fatigue" in Molly's WWII era), the emotional and financial struggles faced by families of MIAs, and the usual friendship dramas. It was *excellent* and prompted some incredible conversations with Tessa. The American Girls books never cease to amaze me. This mystery - which takes place after the initial Molly books and is for older readers - digs into post-traumatic stress syndrome (known as "battle fatigue" in Molly's WWII era), the emotional and financial struggles faced by families of MIAs, and the usual friendship dramas. It was *excellent* and prompted some incredible conversations with Tessa.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I liked this Molly Mystery. It deals with post-traumatic stress disorder and the constant drives kids were asked to participate in. It takes place after Molly's dad is home, so that was cool. All in all, a good Molly book. I liked this Molly Mystery. It deals with post-traumatic stress disorder and the constant drives kids were asked to participate in. It takes place after Molly's dad is home, so that was cool. All in all, a good Molly book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bailey Marissa

    A very good story about Molly after the series that touches on the hardships that soldiers (and their families) had coming home from WW2. Side note 1: (As a student studying psychology) Even though this wasn't the main point, I really liked the undertone of how the person with PTSD (or any mental illness, really) and their support system need to be on the same page when it comes to their action plans for going forward with life. Side note 2: (As a reader) If you're an author/writer and your MS has A very good story about Molly after the series that touches on the hardships that soldiers (and their families) had coming home from WW2. Side note 1: (As a student studying psychology) Even though this wasn't the main point, I really liked the undertone of how the person with PTSD (or any mental illness, really) and their support system need to be on the same page when it comes to their action plans for going forward with life. Side note 2: (As a reader) If you're an author/writer and your MS has miscomunication as a plot device, please change it ASAP. It's not good, and frankly, kind of annoying. Recommended 10+ for mentions of war and PTSD, and violence

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I read this book in an entire night and I LOVED it! The mystery was good too, better than what I expected from a childrens' mystery book. Molly is such a lovable character and I love anything set during WWII! A must-read! I read this book in an entire night and I LOVED it! The mystery was good too, better than what I expected from a childrens' mystery book. Molly is such a lovable character and I love anything set during WWII! A must-read!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shazzer

    May American Girl Book Club selection.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erin Anne

    My 9 year old and I read this book aloud together. We've read all the Molly books and enjoyed continuing the series. The book peaked further into life in the midwest during World War 2, and addressed topics of conversation including women in the workforce, veteran's mental health (battle fatigue/PTSD), and the importance of fully understanding another's situation before judging or labeling them/their actions. My 9 year old and I read this book aloud together. We've read all the Molly books and enjoyed continuing the series. The book peaked further into life in the midwest during World War 2, and addressed topics of conversation including women in the workforce, veteran's mental health (battle fatigue/PTSD), and the importance of fully understanding another's situation before judging or labeling them/their actions.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Actual rating: 4.5 stars

  8. 5 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

    When this book came out in 2009, I thought that it was very disappointing, and since this was the final Molly book ever released (until the reboot choose-your-own-adventure novel), I always thought that this was a shame. However, even though the mystery is extremely lackluster, I enjoyed this as a novel while rereading it in my current stage of life. If I was looking for an exciting mystery, I would still give this a low rating, but focusing on the family and small town elements gives me a differ When this book came out in 2009, I thought that it was very disappointing, and since this was the final Molly book ever released (until the reboot choose-your-own-adventure novel), I always thought that this was a shame. However, even though the mystery is extremely lackluster, I enjoyed this as a novel while rereading it in my current stage of life. If I was looking for an exciting mystery, I would still give this a low rating, but focusing on the family and small town elements gives me a different perspective. This book reflects a variety of different issues from the time, such as V-E Day, women losing their jobs as troops came home, soldiers recovering in local hospitals, people struggling with PTSD, the ongoing focus on scrap drives, the fatigue that people felt from their home front efforts, the financial and emotional effects of a father being MIA, and the shift to the focus on the Pacific Theater, etc. This book tries to do too much, and is crammed with so many different historical details and transitions that it cannot fully do any of them justice. However, it is still very educational, and gives an honest look at what life was like for many different Americans in the spring of 1945. The book's best element is the focus on Molly's relationship with her father, and on how different things are now that he is home. This is the only book that explores their relationship after the war, and I am glad to own a copy now for that alone. This book teaches a lot about PTSD, and even though the author shows how wonderful it was for Molly's family to be reunited, she also engages with the difficult aspects of this transition, and the readjustments that the family had to go through while welcoming him home. This book gives a very authentic portrayal of the different pressures, griefs, and joys that the family experienced, with a focus on Molly's desire to connect with her father on a prewar level instead of feeling shut out because of experiences that he won't talk about. I appreciate this book at a deeper level now that I have studied WWII in such depth. This is a very realistic, honest story, and even though I found it disappointing when I was younger, I appreciate the emotional texture and historical detail so much now that I am willing to overlook the story's faults. Also, this book introduced me to the concept of how often men would take up knitting when they came home from the war, since it was a soothing activity that gave them something to do with their hands. Every time I read about that in another book, I pictured Molly's dad, and I'm glad that this story made such an impression on me and taught me so much even when I thought that it was only a two-star story.

  9. 4 out of 5

    S. J.

    First I have to say, Molly was my first American Girl doll and has remained my favorite. I loved her as a character, her time period, and her stories. She is the one that rang more...real to me then many of the other girls. I read one review that says she wavers between peppy and self-centeredness and I kind of agree...most kids do. What I loved about Molly is that her world was turned upside down and she genuinely wanted to give what aid she could to end the war but she was still a kid. Her chi First I have to say, Molly was my first American Girl doll and has remained my favorite. I loved her as a character, her time period, and her stories. She is the one that rang more...real to me then many of the other girls. I read one review that says she wavers between peppy and self-centeredness and I kind of agree...most kids do. What I loved about Molly is that her world was turned upside down and she genuinely wanted to give what aid she could to end the war but she was still a kid. Her childhood was changed but not completely damaged. She still acted like a child at times, she still went through basic growing up, but she also, like children touched by such circumstances, wanted to be involved, wanted to help, wanted to do her part. I loved this, even then, because she was the one I could identify with. She wasn't perfect...I didn't want her to be. So, yes, I had to pick this up when I learned they were doing mysteries of the various American Girls. The fact that this is set for an older age of reader and is a mystery (which I love) made it even better. I also loved the fact that we actually got to see her dad, always a presence in the books though he was over in Europe for the series. He returned at the very end of the last Molly book and I always hated that we never got to know him the way we did others in the series. We get to know him now and he is handled very well. The man they love is there, but he is different; changed as they have been changed by the war. Molly struggles with this as she also struggles with a weariness of the war (something she shares with many others at the time). Experiencing VE day with her, learning about the scars both seen and unseen that many soldiers would carry beyond the war, and seeing the conclusion of some women working outside the home through her eyes was well written and made me love the character even more. This is well handled book and actually a not bad mystery. She's no Agatha Christie detective, there is no murder or anything major in that respect, but it is a very believable mystery for a young girl to become interested in and she solves it fairly well. It is a technically superb mystery, set up and executed exactly the way the rules say you should. There are red herrings, tangents, but the clues are there and it is very well executed. I highly recommend this book and plan to buy it and place it beside my Molly books from my childhood. My one complaint is that I wish this had been written when I first received Molly. We would have had a lot of fun solving more mysteries together.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sesana

    I started this book feeling a little disappointed, because of the plot description. A kid collects scrap for the war effort, discovers that it's being messed with, and goes through some amateur detective heroics to discover the culprit? I read this before. In an American Girl book. (Voices at Whisper Bend) Fortunately, the way the basic plot is handled is very different, and I actually ended up liking it a bit more. Re-read: This is the only one of Molly's mysteries to be set after the Central Se I started this book feeling a little disappointed, because of the plot description. A kid collects scrap for the war effort, discovers that it's being messed with, and goes through some amateur detective heroics to discover the culprit? I read this before. In an American Girl book. (Voices at Whisper Bend) Fortunately, the way the basic plot is handled is very different, and I actually ended up liking it a bit more. Re-read: This is the only one of Molly's mysteries to be set after the Central Series, and it's set towards the end of World War II. In fact, one of the chapters happens just as V-E Day is announced, and the celebrations are appropriately joyful and emotional. And because it's set at the end of the war, Ernst builds the story on returning vets with PTSD and people, including Molly, getting burned out on the war effort. And the culprit in this book leads to a totally unexpected result. I think this was my favorite Molly mystery.

  11. 5 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    This story takes place in the spring of 1945. World War II is coming to an end and Molly is feeling burned out by all of her war-related activities. Dad is home from the war, but he's different and doesn't laugh and tease the way he used to. Molly worries about her dad and about doing her part to win the war in the Pacific. When General Eisenhower offers a medal to the child who can collect the most scrap paper, Molly is goaded into participating by her rival and her desire to please her dad. Th This story takes place in the spring of 1945. World War II is coming to an end and Molly is feeling burned out by all of her war-related activities. Dad is home from the war, but he's different and doesn't laugh and tease the way he used to. Molly worries about her dad and about doing her part to win the war in the Pacific. When General Eisenhower offers a medal to the child who can collect the most scrap paper, Molly is goaded into participating by her rival and her desire to please her dad. Things don't go according to plan when Molly's paper pile is disturbed. Molly is determined to solve the mystery and along the way she learns about wounded veterans with "battle fatigue" (now known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and discovers that the war has taken it's toll on everyone -some more than others - and people aren't always what they seem. I really enjoyed the honest and realistic examples of what happens when war is over and soldiers come home. This book was more mature than the other Molly stories. Molly has grown up a lot since Meet Molly and I liked seeing her grow and change and become a better person.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    A Molly Mystery Age 8+ Molly still does her patriotic duty to help America win World War II, but she's weary and troubled. Dad is home safe... but he seems different now. Her favorite Red Cross leader abruptly quits. Her archrival, Ronnie Vanko, is driving her crazy. And now someone is sneaking into the backyard shed and messing with the scrap paper she's collecting for the latest wartime drive. Who is the intruder: Ronnie, her own brother Ricky - or a prowler she spied in the night? Gotta love th A Molly Mystery Age 8+ Molly still does her patriotic duty to help America win World War II, but she's weary and troubled. Dad is home safe... but he seems different now. Her favorite Red Cross leader abruptly quits. Her archrival, Ronnie Vanko, is driving her crazy. And now someone is sneaking into the backyard shed and messing with the scrap paper she's collecting for the latest wartime drive. Who is the intruder: Ronnie, her own brother Ricky - or a prowler she spied in the night? Gotta love these American Girl Mysteries! Kathleen Ernst has done it again! She writes amazing mysteries for American Girl. I can't get enough of the American girl books. As for this one I loved it and couldn't put it down. I read half of it last night before I went to bed and finished it this morning during breakfast. American Girl celebrates a girl's inner star - that little whisper inside that encourages her to stand tall, reach high, and dream big.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Clues in the Shadows, a mystery novel, focuses on the effects and the aftermath of the war at home. Molly's father has returned from World War II: however, he has become a somber person, not the light, teasing person he once was. Molly and her friends continue to volunteer for the was effort: they collect books to donate to hospitalized soldiers, they participate in paper recycling, they sell war bonds and they make friendship bags for soldiers. Then Molly finds that someone has tampered with her Clues in the Shadows, a mystery novel, focuses on the effects and the aftermath of the war at home. Molly's father has returned from World War II: however, he has become a somber person, not the light, teasing person he once was. Molly and her friends continue to volunteer for the was effort: they collect books to donate to hospitalized soldiers, they participate in paper recycling, they sell war bonds and they make friendship bags for soldiers. Then Molly finds that someone has tampered with her collected paper. Molly observes strange behavior in the unpleasant Fletcher and his negative nephew Ronnie Vanko. Molly's favorite Red Cross leader, Miss Delaney resigns. As Molly states, "Wars don't really end when the shooting stops."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marian

    I actually really liked this mystery. Molly tends to walk a fine line, in general between a little too peppy and a little too self centered, which isn't as noticible when you're the same age as she is. When you get older, however? Things change. That said, I could really get behind Molly feeling so burnt out by the war and having to constantly sacrifice things for what seemed like a war that would never end. To always keep upbeat, to always have to pretend things were better than they were. Facto I actually really liked this mystery. Molly tends to walk a fine line, in general between a little too peppy and a little too self centered, which isn't as noticible when you're the same age as she is. When you get older, however? Things change. That said, I could really get behind Molly feeling so burnt out by the war and having to constantly sacrifice things for what seemed like a war that would never end. To always keep upbeat, to always have to pretend things were better than they were. Factor her father returning but not acting like himself and you've already hooked me. The mystery itself isn't really all that interesting nor do I really care about it. But the rest of the things going on in Molly's life are more than enough to pick up the slack.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    This story tackles a number of important topics—ptsd and other mental health issues, poverty, and the uncertainty that faces working women when the soldiers come home (that is sympathetic to both the women who lose their jobs and the soldiers)—in a way that is accessible to the target audience (ages 8+) without being patronizing. Well done.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Therese

    It was an easy read and I sped through it - I finished it in about half a day? I remember loving this book when I was younger. Now I find it a bit predictable (I didn't remember ANYTHING about it, I read it such a long time ago). I did love seeing an older, more mature Molly, though. She's a sweetie - I can see why she used to be my favorite American Girl character. :) It was an easy read and I sped through it - I finished it in about half a day? I remember loving this book when I was younger. Now I find it a bit predictable (I didn't remember ANYTHING about it, I read it such a long time ago). I did love seeing an older, more mature Molly, though. She's a sweetie - I can see why she used to be my favorite American Girl character. :)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jordanna

    I really liked this boOK. It is about one of the American Girls named Molly McIntire. She is trying to solve a mistery. A lot of kids are collecting paper hoping to win a medal. Someone keeps on messing up people's paper. In the end Molly finds out who did it. I really liked this boOK. It is about one of the American Girls named Molly McIntire. She is trying to solve a mistery. A lot of kids are collecting paper hoping to win a medal. Someone keeps on messing up people's paper. In the end Molly finds out who did it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Kay

    By far one of my favorite Molly mysteries. I love that we see Molly after VE Day, and the struggle many soldiers have with "battle fatigue" or PTSD. This was a refreshing AG mystery, especially because nothing was simple or easy to understand - it tackled a complex issue in a refreshing way. By far one of my favorite Molly mysteries. I love that we see Molly after VE Day, and the struggle many soldiers have with "battle fatigue" or PTSD. This was a refreshing AG mystery, especially because nothing was simple or easy to understand - it tackled a complex issue in a refreshing way.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    excellent American Girl mystery!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Good mystery, not preachy, but lots of good info and insights to the end of WWII.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anjanette

    I am impressed with the stories in these AG books. It is realistic and appropriate while not sugar coating anything. My daughter and I enjoyed reading this book together.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    An awesome tale, very important life lessons. Also very funny. It is a great mystery and a 5 star winner.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katt Hansen

    Molly finds several mysteries, and the war work continues even after Germany surrenders. Really loving this series of mysteries, so well-written, with lots of adventures and many surprising twists.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

    i think this book was kind of dumb. the intruder was their neighbor looking for a letter that her brother sent her

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mika

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cassi

  28. 5 out of 5

    Zainab

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jessa Bri

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

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