Title: The Van Gogh Deception
Author: Deron R. Hicks
Genres: Middle Grade mystery
When a young boy is discovered in Washington DC’s National Gallery without any recollection of who he is, so begins a high-stakes race to unravel the greatest mystery of all: his identity. As the stakes continue to rise, the boy must piece together the disjointed clues of his origins while using his limited knowledge to stop one of the greatest art frauds ever attempted.
Digitally interactive, this museum mystery offers QR codes woven throughout the book that bring renowned paintings to readers’ fingertips.
I kind of fell in love with this book the moment I first had it in my hands. I loved the cover itself and I adored the deep blue color that the book was without it’s dust jacket, but opening the book and seeing it’s end pages was the best part because they had incredible Van Gogh art on them. I know it’s not the best way to go, but seeing this immediately raised my expectations of the book, because something that’s this beautiful on the outside must be amazing on the inside too, right?
Plus, the fact that this book combined art and middle grade mystery stories, two things I love a lot, didn’t help bring my very high expectations down. I was convinced I was going to absolutely adore this book.
So, the obvious question is probably: “did you end up loving this book?”. Well, the answer to that is yes, and no. I did have a lot of fun reading the book, and I managed to finish it very quickly (which is always a good sign for me), but there were a few things that I didn’t love about it. But let’s start with the good, shall we?
The book was incredibly fun. We follow a boy with amnesia who’s trying to figure out who he is, and a girl who tries to help him, while they’re trying to outsmart some bad guys. It’s very fast-paced and it’s entertaining to see how these kids get themselves out of some tricky situations. Besides this, the fact that this book involved art made it even more fun for me.
The thing I didn’t really love about the book was that it felt like it dragged quite a bit in the middle. There were about 150 pages of the kids just running from the bad guys, and while it was fun, I started getting a bit frustrated about the fact that we weren’t getting any clues as to who this boy was and what he was up to. I kind of wanted to skip ahead a few chapters, and just read how it all played out. I just wish that the author had given us a few more clues in the middle part of the book, instead of drop everything on us at the end.
Overall, the book was very entertaining and I would definitely recommend it, but there were a few things that kept this from being the perfect book for me.
Trigger warnings: kidnapping, death of parent, (gun-) violence