Shouldn't You Be in School?

All the Wrong Questions, #3

Fiction - Audiobook
336 Pages
Reviewed on 01/27/2015
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Kristine Hall for Readers' Favorite

Young Lemony Snicket has been asked to help track an arsonist in the town of Stain'd-by-the-Sea. But as is often the case, where there is one mystery to solve, there are usually others, and those in Stain'd-by-the-Sea are plentiful. In his role as an apprentice detective (or is he?), Lemony quickly suspects that the evil villain Hangfire is behind more than the fires in town and that the schoolchildren are in danger from more than flames. Secrets and deception abound in Shouldn't You Be in School?, the third installment of All the Wrong Questions by Lemony Snicket.

Characters are fleshed out and well defined, and the plot stands alone, with ties to the prior stories explained enough so that there was no confusion. Foreshadowing is heavy, which entices readers to look for the next installment, and the language and imagery are fantastic. Lines like "I felt my mouth grinning around the spoon," and "Seeing a librarian in handcuffs is like seeing a fish gasping on a roll top desk. I couldn't look at it long," conjure very specific reactions from the listeners/readers. Also enjoyable was the repeated, amusing mechanism of the narrator defining words for listeners/readers, always qualifying his definitions with saying the word, followed by "a word, which here means ..."

Oddly enough, I have not read the prior installments in this series, nor have I read any of the Series of Unfortunate Events, for which the All the Wrong Questions books are prequels. Nonetheless, I have heard enough about Lemony Snicket that I dove in, and I wasn't disappointed. Despite not having read the two books before Shouldn't You Be in School?, I had no problem figuring out the story.