Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills

by Carrie Cross


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Thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins plans to become a private detective like her grandfather. Stuck at her bullying cousin Gwendolyn's Malibu estate for the summer, Skylar brings her fingerprinting kit, portable spy tools, and her journal for taking notes in secret code. She had no idea how dangerous the next eight weeks would prove to be.

As soon as Skylar gets to Malibu, mysterious things begin to happen. She discovers a hidden garden behind a rusted gate in Gwendolyn's huge back yard. Her new friend Kat, who claims to be a witch, recognizes magical elements throughout the garden and declares it the perfect place to perform spells.

"We are going to grow gems."

"Grow what?" There was no way I heard her right.

Kat's eyes gleamed. "Gems. You know, rubies, emeralds, sapphires? Gems!"

Ignoring the rising tide, they sneak down to the beach at midnight and search three caves for magic seeds to plant in the abandoned garden. Practical Skylar didn't believe in magic. Until their spells appear to be working.

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills has been a #1 Best Seller in Children's Detective ebooks, Children's Fantasy & Supernatural Mystery ebooks, Children's Sword & Sorcery Fantasy ebooks, and Children's ebooks: Mystery & Detectives/Spies, and received the Reader's Favorite 5-star award.

5 stars: Spellbinding! Review by GemTones on November 15, 2014Fans of Nancy Drew and Harry Potter alike will love this fast-paced blend of detective action, mystery, witchcraft, and magic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780989414302
Publisher: Ward Design LLC DBA Teen Mystery Press
Publication date: 07/30/2013
Pages: 260
Sales rank: 788,542
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.55(d)

About the Author

Carrie Cross is an avid reader who fell in love with books as a little girl after reading Goodnight Moon. She wrote her first "book" at age four: Blackie the Little Black Dog and the Flying Washing Machine. Carrie discovered her love of mysteries reading Nancy Drew books and The Happy Hollisters series, and after writing THE MYSTERY OF SHADOW HILLS, she continues to look for clues in unexpected places to this day.

Carrie Cross's influences include Judy Blume, Deb Caletti, Sarah Dessen, and Lee Child. In addition to writing Skylar Robbins mysteries and reading, Carrie loves to cook, hike at the beach, go boating, and travel.

During a recent interview she was asked, "Where do you get your inspiration?"

"When I was six years old, my parents decided we needed to buy a bigger house. We looked at a creepy two-story in Santa Monica Canyon, and I played hide-and-seek with the little girl who lived there. There were closets and secret hiding places with doors that opened into other rooms. Later, I wondered, "What if there was a clue hidden in one of those closets?" And the idea for the Skylar Robbins mystery series was born.

Skylar's adventures continue in THE MYSTERY OF THE HIDDEN JEWELS. After she solves her second big case, the Skylar Robbins Detective Agency tackles THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING HEIRESS. Carrie Cross is currently at work on her fourth Skylar Robbins novel, THE CURSE OF KOMA ISLAND.

Follow Carrie on Facebook at and at

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Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Book that assists in lessons, communication, and building memories for our family! Just finished reading Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills to my 5 children. I love that there was inspiration to do activities with the family. We took the time to make amulets - or necklaces from rocks we searched for. We are planning some fun art projects too. I also love that the book took a turn into a positive lesson that I would want to teach my kids anyway. We were able to stop after reading the book and discuss what we learned about friendship and deciphering what a true friend is or is not. My children learned something about following fads as well. All wonderful lessons that I as a mother often wonder how I will be able to reach my children and teach in a way that they would "get". This way we were able to do it together as a family all while building our own communications skills. This book is rated 5 stars by me and the kids :) Thank you Carrie! We are looking forward to reading your future adventures!!!
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite Don’t worry – Skylar Robbins is on the case in Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills by Carrie Cross, Book 1 in this series. Skylar is a fairly typical 13-year-old who wants nothing more than to be a private detective. With her detective tools and the training she received from her late grandfather, Skylar is set to spend the summer with her obnoxious cousin while her parents are touring Europe. Living in a house that may be haunted, at the foot of the Shadow Hills in Malibu where a coven of witches is said to practice black magic, just may make up for having to deal with Gwendolyn. As the summer progresses, Skylar has made friends in her summer school art class, including Kat, a want-to-be white witch. Together, the girls try to grow gems, create a love potion, and figure out what the coven in the hills is doing. Carrie Cross has captured the spirit of the title character beautifully. It is easy to relate to Skylar as she experiences hurt, annoyance, indecision and success like most girls her age, and there are lessons for readers hidden in her solutions to problems. Skylar is eager to please her new friend, Kat, but realizes that the friendship is rather one-sided. Skylar takes steps to stick up for herself and learns some valuable lessons from her interactions with all the people she encounters. By the time her parents return from their trip, Skylar has things pretty well figured out and is ready to embark on a new mystery as soon as she is home and the new Skylar Robbins Detective Agency starts advertising. Well written with non-stop action and plenty of twists and turns , Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills is a great read for children and tweens, sure to capture their attention and inspire them to grow and explore. I'm certainly not a child, but I loved reading all about Skylar and following her adventures. Full of good lessons for children of all ages.
TheThoughtSpot More than 1 year ago
Skylar Robbins:The Mystery of Shadow Hills by Carrie Cross is an all new Nancy Drew-type detective story! Skylar loves investigating and her grandfather taught her true detective skills. The reader is transported into Skylar's memories and daydreams. She's stuck for eight weeks at her grouchy cousin's old Malibu mansion while her parents travel abroad. Skylar attends summer school while she's in Malibu, but she only has to go to an art class. The descriptions of the art assignments make me want to take the class too. Skylar makes friends and learns new things. I enjoyed the mysterious happenings because they were a bit spooky. I like the fact that the author's writing allows the reader to be spooked along with Skylar, even though she's a very practical person. Very fun middle school read, 5 stars!
Sue_H More than 1 year ago
An Interesting Start to Series. The Mystery of Shadow Hills is the first book in the Skylar Robbins series. This can be read as a standalone. The next book has already been released so why stop with just this one? While this book and series is written for middle schoolers, adults will enjoy it too. At least this adult did. Please note that the theme of witch craft is in this story, as well as the use of spells and a ouji board. So just skip to book 2 in the series and start reading there if you do not like stories that include these themes. The book blurb adequately describes the storyline so I'm not going to repeat that all of that info here. This book, and the character of Skylar, are well written. You could really feel her emotions and what she was going through. I love how she uses all her tools in her detective kit to follow the clues to solve the little mysteries that she finds. I will continue to read the more of the series to see what hidden jewels she finds next in The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels. I was gifted a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
CrystalMarie218 More than 1 year ago
This was a very fun young adult mystery. It was reminiscent of the Nancy Drew novels I grew up reading. I loved how Ms. Cross addresses the issue of bullying in this novel. Skylar learns to face her fears and stand up for herself through some strange circumstances but in the end she is a much stronger young girl because of it. There are a lot of aspects in this book that address issues other young readers could be facing such as going to a new school, meeting new and differently abled people, and being away from your parents for a summer. Skylar uses the skills she learned from her grandfather to solve a mystery involving the strange noises coming from the hills behind her Aunt Caroline’s Malibu home. This was a fun and interesting book and is the beginning of the Skylar Robbins Detective Agency series. It looks like there is another young female detective joining the ranks of the infamous Nancy Drew. Reviewed by Melissa for Crystal's Many Reviewers Copy provided for review
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
Thirteen-year-old Skylar’s been collecting items for her detective kit, and plans to be just like her grandfather. What she didn’t plan on was staying at her annoying cousin’s mansion in Shadow Hills for eight weeks while her parents tour Europe. The Hills and the attic are off limits, and that’s just got to mean adventure, or even “escape from Malibu!” But by the end of this tale, Skylar won’t be the only person needing to get away. Skylar has a nice convincing voice as the first-person narrator of this tween mystery. Teens in her summer art class include the hearing-impaired boy with a happy, outgoing attitude, the genius artist, the skateboarder, the wannabe Wiccan and more, and they make a fine group. But outside school, Sky is soon puzzling over a Ouija board with her new best friend. She practices the arts of magical distraction on the grass of a secret garden, but who can she trust, and will she find a way to be true to herself? A pleasing blend of careful detective work, fanciful ritual, nature’s beauty, and tense excitement makes this a cool tween adventure as Skyler grows up, conquers her fears, solves a mystery, and learns wise lessons in friendship and how to live with bullies. Shadow Hills keep their mystery hidden right to the end, but this summer is one to remember, as is the book... and there’s even the chance to develop your own detective kit at the end. Don’t let those magic tricksters fool you! Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy of this novel and I offer my honest (if somewhat belated) review.
Elayne_Angel More than 1 year ago
A Really Fun Read! Highly Recommended Skylar Robbins' strengths and vulnerabilities make her a character that kids can both relate to and learn from. Young readers will enjoy her exciting adventures as she navigates the challenges of spending a summer away from her parents, attending a different school, making new friends, and conquering her fears in the process. Author Elayne Angel
Malia_ann More than 1 year ago
When I was a kid, I loved Nancy Drew. Well after reading "Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills," I think Skylar is the perfect girl detective to take Nancy's place in the 21st Century. I found this book to be fun, exciting, suspenseful, and filled with adventure and great characters. I especially liked Skylar. Throughout the book, she shows a lot of character, courage and growth in some trying, scary and sticky situations. I know all Middle Grade and Tween girls will totally enjoy Skylar's escapades. Beautiful, eye-catching cover as well! *This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
KristenMott More than 1 year ago
A great mystery for young adult readers This book, though meant for a younger audience, kept me wanting to read more. There was mystery, suspense and a slew of relatable characters. The plot twists and ending were unexpected and exciting. It is a great choice for young adult readers.