Twelve-year-old Andora ‘Andi’ Boggs and her new best friend Colin Carter couldn’t be more excited to attend the prestigious science camp at the local university in Killdeer, Ohio. Unfortunately, Discovery Camp’s curriculum appears to include much more than just chemistry and biology. From day one, the university is plagued by a series of pranks—missing markers, loose crickets, and stolen scales. Campus security blames the mysterious janitor Polk, but even though Andi agrees he’s acting suspicious, she can’t believe the gentle old man would do anything illegal. Then one prank goes too far and their chemistry professor is injured by an explosion in the lab, upping the stakes of the investigation. Andi and Colin must unravel the secrets behind the chemistry department and Polk’s dark past before danger closes the camp for good.
Praise for the series:
2013 Agatha Award Nominee
“In the upstanding tradition of Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy, Andi is spunky and unafraid to take risks” – Booklist
“A fun little detective story with some simple life lessons.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Flower creates a cast of memorable characters and a colorful, historically detailed setting.” – Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Amanda Flower is an Agatha Award-nominated mystery author (Maid of Murder), who first caught the writing bug in elementary school. She is also the author of Andi Unexpected, the Andi Boggs series, Appleseed Creek and the India Hayes series. When she’s not writing, she works as a librarian at Ursuline College near her hometown of Tallmadge, Ohio. Visit her online at www.amandaflower.com and www.isabellaalan.com.
Read an Excerpt
Andi Under Pressure
An Andi Boggs Novel
By Amanda Flower
ZONDERKIDZCopyright © 2014 Amanda Flower
All rights reserved.
The old man wearing the black leather gloves was back. He sat crossed-legged on the sidewalk and edged the grass with kitchen scissors. Yesterday, on the first day of Discovery Camp, I spotted him digging a hole with a screwdriver. I glanced around. Was I the only person on Michael Pike University's campus that found his choices in garden tools peculiar or just plain weird?
I was used to weird to a point. Usually when I came down to breakfast each morning, my aunt Amelie was standing on her head or in the middle of another yoga contortion. But that was weird in the privacy of our own home. This was weird out in the open.
I studied the man. I guessed that he was about the age of Colin's grandma, Bergita, maybe a little older. Besides the gloves, he wore a gray university work shirt and too-big black jeans held up by a brown belt. His face was so wrinkled that he had slits where his eyes should have been. He wasn't alone. A grizzled beagle that may have been as old as him sat on the sidewalk, watching the man's progress. The beagle buried her nose into the freshly cut grass.
I didn't even know why he bothered to trim the lawn this late in the summer. The blades of grass were scorched by long, hot months with little rain.
Colin Carter, my next-door neighbor and closest friend in Killdeer, chained his bike to the rack outside Colburn Hall, the university's science building. "Dr. Ruggles's lecture yesterday on invertebrates would have been better if he actually let us touch one of his precious samples. Did he think we would drop them? It's not like we haven't picked up a bug before."
I tucked a stray piece of strawberry blond—sadly, closer to pink—hair behind my ear, half-listening to Colin. All my attention was focused on the man and dog. "Colin, who is that?"
Colin struggled with his bike lock. "Who is who?" His floppy brown hair fell over the top of his glasses. He blew it away with a puff of air.
I pointed across the grounds. "That guy. Who is he?"
"Oh, that's Polk," he said. "He works here. I think he's a janitor. I've seen him mopping the bathrooms in Colburn before."
"Is Polk his first name or last name?"
Colin fiddled with the lock's chain. "I don't know. It's what everyone calls him."
"Yesterday was the first time I saw him," I paused. "I guess that's his dog."
"Oh yeah, that's Curie. I don't think I have ever seen him without Curie. I mean, except when Polk is in one of the buildings cleaning or fixing stuff." Colin shrugged.
I frowned. "What's with the scissors?"
Colin straightened up and squinted at the man. "Maybe he couldn't find a Weedwacker."
I folded my arms. "You don't think that's strange he's cutting the grass with kitchen scissors?"
Colin shrugged again. "Bergita says he's a good egg."
Colin lived with his grandmother, Bergita. He always called her by her first name. Everyone did.
"How does Bergita know Polk?" I asked.
"Bergita knows everyone."
I studied Polk more closely. His shoulders hunched forward as he worked. Curie sniffed around a lamppost.
I was about to question Colin more about Polk when Dylan White, wearing his blue Discovery Camp counselor T-shirt, jogged toward Colin and me. "Hey, you two, what are you doing out here?" He ran a hand through his perfectly wavy brown hair. "Camp is about to start." Dylan was a sophomore chemistry major and cross-country star. He could also rap the periodic table. Yesterday, he'd done it twice.
Colin slung his backpack over his shoulder. "Andi was asking about Polk."
Dylan glanced over to Polk and back to me. "Andi, you are destined to be a great scientist because you question everything."
I fought the blush creeping across my cheeks.
He flashed his megawatt smile. "That's not a bad thing, but you don't need to worry about Polk. He's harmless. Weird but harmless." Dylan grimaced.
At least someone else thought Polk's actions were weird.
"Let's go, kids. You don't want to be late for opening, do you? If you are, you'll have to answer to Madison."
Madison Houser was the upperclassman in charge of Discovery Camp. She took her job very seriously and would not put up with any "shenanigans." At least that's what she told us yesterday. She'd actually said "shenanigans" with a straight face too.
"Kids," Colin snorted. "You're not that much older than us."
Dylan grinned at Colin's comment. "There is a difference between twelve and nineteen, my friend. I can drive and I can vote. What do you have?"
Colin crossed his eyes at the counselor and was rewarded with a bark of laughter.
Beyond Polk and Curie, Madison marched across the green carrying a huge stack of lab manuals. Her brown ponytail bounced with each step which didn't seem to match the scowl on her face.
Dylan dashed across the lawn and took the lab books from Madison's arms. She gave him a tight smile. Dylan returned it with a big goofy grin like the ones I had seen on Colin's pug, Jackson, when Bergita was about to give him a Milk-Bone. Madison just scowled harder and marched into the building with Dylan a few steps behind.
Colin headed for Colburn's front doors. "We're going to be late for opening. I don't want to start today with a lecture from Madison, do you?"
No way, I thought. I took one last glance at Polk and Curie. The old man was still seated on the sidewalk. He turned his head and nodded at me.
"Andi!" Colin held the door open for me.
I ran inside.CHAPTER 2
Colin and I fell into our chairs in Colburn's lecture hall just as Madison began to take the roll. "Boggs!" she called in a surprisingly husky voice.
"Here!" I piped up, hoping I didn't sound out of breath.
Madison made a check on her clipboard. Madison loved her clipboard. Another student asked to see it on the first day, and she'd ripped it from his hands. No one messed with the clipboard.
Madison called, "Carter?"
"Present," Colin squeaked.
Dylan stood behind Madison and pretended to write a check mark on an imaginary clipboard. The thirty-two kids in the classroom and the other counselors, Luis and Susan, tried not to laugh.
Madison's eyes narrowed. She whipped her head around to face Dylan. He wiggled his fingers at her.
The class couldn't hold back any longer. We burst into giggles.
"No more fun and games. Science is serious business," Madison snapped.
Because of her small size, it was like watching a mouse snarl. I covered my mouth. She would hate that comparison.
Madison glared at each one of us in turn. Her eyes lingered on me longer than the rest. "Break up into your element groups," she said finally, "and your counselor will escort you to your first class for the day. At the end of the day, we will reconvene in this room for a recap and closing. Any questions?"
"What college student says 'reconvene'?" I heard someone whisper.
Dylan put two fingers in his mouth and whistled. "Yo, Hydrogen over here."
Madison scowled at him. "Helium, please come to the front of the room. Bring your backpacks with you."
Colin and I shared a look. We were both thinking the same thing: we were glad to be in Dylan's, not Madison's, group.
The last two groups, Lithium and Zinc, belonged to Susan and Luis. Luis was quiet and had just the hint of a mustache on his upper lip. I didn't know why he didn't shave it off and wait until he could grow a more respectable one. Susan played basketball for the university and had what Bethany would call a "sporty" build. She ran down the line of her group members and high-fived her students. Some of them winced when her hand hit theirs. She gave her group, Lithium, a lot of high fives, and they were beginning to feel it.
"First up for Lithium is ecology. Who's ready?" The student next to her covered his ears.
I was about to take the seat next to Dylan when Ava Gomez, the only other girl in my element group, slid into the seat beside him, hitting me in the face with her dark ponytail in the process. I spat her hair out of my mouth. Not for the first time, I wished that there were more than eight girls at Discovery Camp. Ava's lab partner Jake, a thin kid with large ears, slumped in the seat next to her. He propped his hand under his chin and blinked half-closed eyes.
Dylan reached over and tapped Jake on the back of his blond head. "Someone didn't eat his Wheaties today, did he?"
Ava elbowed him in the ribs. "Wake up!"
Jake straightened up a little, but when Ava turned her attention back to Dylan, he fell back into a slouch. My brow wrinkled. How did they end up as lab partners?
Dylan removed a crumbled piece of paper from his pocket and smoothed it out on the tabletop. "Okay, kids, here's the rest of the lineup. Today, we have chemistry first, then bio, lunch, eco-time, and then free period."
At the front of the room, Madison had a binder that told her where to go and what to do. Even Luis and Susan had folders. Dylan kept his schedule on the back of a crumpled receipt in his jeans' pocket. The other counselors reviewed the camp rules and ongoing projects. Dylan didn't bother with any of that. Ours was the first group to leave.
In the hallway, we heard the hum of classrooms' window air conditioners fighting a losing battle with the heat outside. The interior stairwell was a little bit cooler than the hallway but not by much. When we reached the third floor, Colin wheezed softly. Was his asthma acting up again? I'd witnessed him having an attack once, and one time was enough.
"Do you need to use your inhaler?" I whispered.
He drank from his red Discovery Camp water bottle. "I'll be okay."
We filed into the classroom through the back door and took our spots at the lab tables, but Dr. Comfrey, the chemistry professor, wasn't there. Ava had pushed her way to a seat at the front lab table. She glanced around the classroom with a smug look on her face. The air conditioner dripped water onto the floor under the window.
Dylan grinned and marched to the front of the room. "I suppose I will have to teach lab today. Everyone pull out your Bunsen burners and fire them up. I'll get the propane."
"Ow!" a voice cried from under Dr. Comfrey's desk. A second later, Dr. Comfrey's dark curly hair appeared over the top of the desk. She stood, rubbing the back of her head. "That's not amusing, Mr. White. Bunsen burners, as common as they are in a lab, can be dangerous if the person operating them doesn't know how to use them."
"It was a joke." Dylan flashed another megawatt smile.
The chemistry professor untangled her fingers from her brown curls. She was a small woman. I had two inches on her and was still growing. She wore a white lab coat that reached her ankles over a Discovery Camp T-shirt and jeans. Without the coat, she could have passed for one of the kids in her classroom.
"I'm glad to see you are all already at your work stations," she said as she spun her long curls into a bun on the back of her head and secured it into place with two number two pencils.
"Why were you under the desk?" Colin asked.
The petite professor smiled at him. "I misplaced something."
"What did you lose?" Gavin, an African-American boy, asked. He had an atom diagram shaved into the hair on the side of his head. I wondered what Amelie would say if I came home with a hairstyle like that. Knowing my aunt, she'd liked it.
Gavin's mother drove an hour one way to bring him back and forth to camp. I wondered where my other Hydrogen-mates were from. I shot a glance at Ava, who was already taking notes, for what I couldn't guess since class hadn't started yet. I hoped Ava was from another place too, like Siberia, or seventh grade would be what Bergita called a "doosie." I'd ask Colin about her when I got a chance.
The teacher laughed. "I lost all my dry erase markers. There weren't any in the whiteboard well this morning. I could have sworn I left four there last night." She shook her head. "I thought I had a box in the cupboard too. It's so odd that they would all go missing at once." She forced a laugh. "I'm very meticulous about supplies." She smiled at Dylan. "You know that from Chem One, don't you, Dylan?"
"I do." He pressed his lips together into a straight line.
Dr. Comfrey shrugged. "I'm sure they will turn up when I least expect it. Isn't that the way of it?"
"Maybe we can help you look for them," I offered.
Someone near me whispered, "Suck up."
I whipped my head around, but didn't see who it was. Ava would have been my first guess, but it didn't sound like a girl's voice.
"Thank you, Andora." She adjusted the pencils on the back of her head and peered at the class list on her desk. "It is Andora, isn't it?"
I opened my notebook. "You can call me Andi."
"Okay then, Andi, that is a very sweet offer, but you did not come to camp to search for my lost markers. I'll pick some up at the store this evening. In the meantime, Dylan, can you go next door to room 318? There is a rolling chalkboard in there." She smiled. "I've got chalk. We will rock this lecture old school."
"Come on, Spenser." Dylan waved at a husky kid sitting in the back row. "You can help me out."
Dr. Comfrey stopped fussing with her pencils and said, "Let's not waste any more precious class time on lost markers." She laughed. This time it was a true laugh. "Today, we are going to talk about alkalinity. Who knows what an alkaline is?"
I raised my hand. As I did, Ava called out, "An alkaline is a substance that has a pH greater than seven. It is the opposite from an acid which has a pH less than seven."
Dr. Comfrey nodded. "That is correct, Ava, but I wish you would wait for me to call on you before you answer." She peered over Ava's head. "Andi, what more can you tell me about alkalis?"
I cleared my throat. "Because it is the opposite of acid, it can neutralize acid. It's found in many batteries too."
Ava glared at me. Yes, seventh grade would be a ball if she went to my school. Please, no.
"Excellent Andi. It sounds to me as if you have studied them before."
"I've read about them," I admitted.
In the row in front of me, Ava glanced back and whispered to her lab partner Jake. His chuckle turned into a yawn. I stiffened. Spenser and Dylan returned pushing the heavy chalkboard.
"Right here is fine." Dr. Comfrey pointed to the space in front of her white board. "Thanks, guys."
Spenser lumbered back to his seat.
While Dr. Comfrey lectured about alkali and all their uses, I watched Dylan. Quietly, he straightened the chalkboard and walked to the stool in the back of the room. He didn't stop to crack a joke or even a smile. I couldn't help but notice how his posture wasn't that much different than Polk's had been earlier that morning. He wouldn't make eye contact with me or anyone else. Ever since Dr. Comfrey mentioned Chem One, he was deflated.
I turned back around to face the chalkboard and found Ava frowning at me from two rows up.
"What?" I mouthed.
She didn't answer. Instead she spun around in her seat, hitting Jake in the face with her ponytail. I had no idea why, but Ava Gomez was out to get me.CHAPTER 3
At the end of chemistry, I slid my notebook into my backpack while Colin waited for me by the classroom door.
"Andi?" Dr. Comfrey ran a black eraser across the chalkboard. "Can you stay after class for a moment?"
I swallowed hard. Did Dr. Comfrey know Colin and I had been a few minutes late for opening that morning? I couldn't think of any other reason the chemistry professor would want me to stay behind. But if that were true, wouldn't she have asked Colin to stay too?
Colin raised his eyebrows. I gave him a sideways smile and gestured he should go with Dylan and the rest of Hydrogen to biology. He waited in the doorway for a half second longer and then disappeared down the hall.
My sneakers squeaked on the tile as I shifted my feet in front of her desk.
Dr. Comfrey dusted chalk off of her jeans. "Chalk is terrible stuff. It gets everywhere. I will definitely have to stop at the store for markers tonight."
I murmured that that was a bummer for her, still wondering what she wanted to say to me.
Excerpted from Andi Under Pressure by Amanda Flower. Copyright © 2014 Amanda Flower. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERKIDZ.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Title: Andi Under Pressure - Andi Boggs Book 2 Author: Amanda Flower Published: 9-16-2014 Publisher: Zonderkidz - Books Pages: 163 Genre: Children's Fiction Sub Genre: Christian Fiction; Homeschooling; Sibling; Series ISBN: 9780130737025 ASIN: B00UF8SUXQ Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley Rating: 5 Stars . While attending Science Camp being held at the local college Colin and Andi disco.ver someone is sabotaging the camp and causing Security to blame the Janitor, Mr. Polk Although Mr. Polk does behave as though he is hiding something they don't believe he is the one causing all the trouble. The two begin to eavesdropping on conversations to try and find who is really behind various pranks disrupting the camp. As they search for clues to find the true culprit and clear the kindly janitor Colin and Andi try to enjoy camp, but the continuing pranks make that difficult. Amanda Flower has developed some very charming characters reminiscent of a younger Nancy Drew and Ned. It is a clean, easy mystery for young readers as well as the young at heart. I too enjoy still reading the old Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries from my childhood (I still have them and the Honey Bunch and Cherry Ames and a few others that I can share with the generations coming behind mine.) I have been able to share the Andi Boggs series with my great-nieces and nephews and so far there has been surprisingly no negatives raised by them. From Sean, age 7 to Amber age 12 each said they liked Andi and Colin, and wished they could know someone like them. We are all looking forward to sharing book 3 in the series, Andi Unstoppable which came out in October 2015. If you missed Andi Unexpected, book one in the series, I would recommend reading it to fill in a few questions you may feel about previous event mentioned in Andi Under Pressure. I think there is enough information provided to keep you on course in the story, but if you are like me you do not like not knowing exactly what led up to the current status of characters in a series. Enjoy Andi Boggs Books no matter what your age. Take an hour or two to indulge the youngster you have hiding inside and remember the hours of curled up under a tree reading the afternoon away.
Favorite in our household! My 8 year old twins loved this book! Encourages imagination and play.
I received a copy of ANDI UNDER PRESSURE by Amanda Flower from ZonderKids via BookLook Bloggers. It is part of the Andi Boggs series, this being book two. I often read juvenile fiction so that I can pass them on to a little cousin – I read them first to make sure they are appropriate – and I have my degree in elementary education, so I have a strong fondness for youth fiction. This book is top-notch and I highly recommend it. It would be perfect for reading aloud in a family setting or in a classroom. Andi (Andora) is twelve and getting into fun adventures. Best of all, she’s solving mysteries. It reminded me of the Nancy Drew books my mother would read to me when I was younger, and it also reminded me of Veronica Mars, but of course in a more age-appropriate setting. I found another strong resemblance to the Mandie Shaw mysteries, which were a major part of my childhood, in how God is revered. Andi and her friend Colin go to Discovery Camp, where of course mysterious things are occurring and they decide to investigate. I loved how the author is encouraging girls to get into science – and mysteries!
Source: Complimentary copy via BookLook Bloggers. This is the second Andi Boggs mystery and it was just as entertaining as the first. Andi is spunky and the rest of the characters are engaging as well. I loved Nancy Drew as a kid and these books remind me of her. I think this would be a good series to introduce kids to mysteries. But it's also very suitable for adults, too.
When I was a pre-teen I fell in love with the popular mysteries of the day like Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew, and even The Boxcar Children. Now that I have grandchildren old enough to read we've been enjoying those old classics, but I must admit they are dated in spots. We recently were introduced to the Andi Boggs series and it has been the answer to our outdated dilema. Andi is a delightfully precocious 12 year-old that is just brimming with curiosity. The first book in the series is entitled Andi Unexpected. It introduces all of the characters and has a wonderfully engaging mystery that the characters solve. In book two, Andi Under Pressure, we meet back up with Andi and her friend Colin. They have been selected to attend a prestigious science camp called Discovery Camp. They are both excited to attend but soon after they arrive mysterious things begin to happen. The curious duo quickly dive in to investigate what is going on. I enjoyed so much about this book. The characters are wholesome and display qualities that you would like for your children to emulate. My grands were engaged with the story and kept asking for just one more chapter. It was fun to listen to their guesses at what was really going on. If you have young mystery lovers in your life this would be a great book for them. While both of the books are related they can each be read as a stand-alone. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
I met the author this summer so when I was given a chance to review her book I hopped at the chance. This was a really cute, short book. I enjoyed the fact that it was set in Ohio, where I'm from. I always have a bit of fondness for books set in my home state. I would have loved this book as a kid, it's exactly the kind of thing I would have read, though maybe not one I would keep going back to. It kind of reminded me of The Boxcar Children books, a series that I devoured and still have a few copies of. For posterity of course.