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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Mandrake’s Plot by Helen Laycock is an exciting mystery that finds two young girls uncovering the secrets of their new boarding school. Evie is on her way to begin a new life at St. Agatha’s Boarding School for Girls when she meets fellow traveler Mia. The two quickly bond over their shared destination with neither expecting the grim greeting they receive upon arrival. They notice an immediate strangeness about the school as no one bothers to pick them up, which forces them to make their own trek to the eerie place. They’re immediately met with hostility and quickly notice something is off about the others living there. As the mystery deepens, they meet the caretaker Mandrake who has a surprising connection to the curse that ails the school and band together to find a way to break it.
Mandrake’s Plot by Helen Laycock is a delightful mystery with a grim and eerie tone through the foreboding school and hostile students. The further the two children are drawn into the mystery, they discover darkness within that has taken over every corner of the school. The mystery is full of surprising twists and a supernatural turn. The story has everything that makes for an exciting read with a strange school, an eerie chamber, a supernatural element, and hostile behavior that spark Evie and Mia’s determination to find answers. The core of the story revolves around the friendship between the two girls which helps each of them through their individual coming of age journeys and to find the strength to break the curse. The safety of the entire school and everyone in it is placed upon their shoulders as only they can put an end to the curse. Young readers will be quickly drawn into this addictive mystery as the secrets of the boarding school are brought to light through Mandrake’s Plot which has suspense, action, and friendship.