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Publishers WeeklyThe budding "psychoanalytic detective" heroine of Hays's Portia's Ultra Mysterious Double Life returns with plenty of sassy observations. Twelve-year-old Portia Avatar lives with her health food-loving mom in sunny Palmville, Calif. When not jotting down important notes or new facts about life, she remains obsessed with finding her long-lost father, Patch. Portia gets sidetracked, though, when an exuberant, friend-hungry girl, Misty, moves into the neighborhood and enlists Portia's detective skills to figure out why her pet rabbit is acting strangely. The mystery of the bizarrely behaving bunny falls flat, but Hays buoys this otherwise bland tale with Portia's reflections: "NOTE: If anyone reads this, please gently remind Miss Killjoy and her other teacher 'friends' that life is more than juggling compound numbers. And that, in my not-so-humble opinion, acute angles are not even remotely cute. Big thanks!" If their conversations can sometimes feel affected and forced, Hays' characters are quirky and memorable. Ages 9-13.
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