There’s a scandal brewing at the 2012 Olympics, and if Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are around, you might expect them to be on the trail of the story. In John Feinstein’s previous sports mysteries, teen sportswriters Stevie and Susan Carol have stopped a point-shaving scheme at the Final Four, uncovered doping at the Super Bowl and investigated the disappearance of a tennis phenom at the U.S. Open.
But this time around, Susan Carol isn’t one of the sleuths—she’s at the center of the action. In Rush for the Gold: Mystery at the Olympics, Susan Carol’s career as a high school swimmer takes off when she qualifies for the Olympic Team. Her father signs her up with a sports management team that takes the young swimmer in directions she doesn’t want to go, but the potential rewards are astonishing if she wins gold. When Stevie clashes with the overbearing agents, he starts to smell a rat, but can he reveal the truth if it costs Susan Carol a medal?
Feinstein, a best-selling author (A Season on the Brink) and former sports reporter, gives young readers an up-close view of athletics and deftly blends plot twists with insider details. Appearances by real-life figures like Michael Phelps are much more than cameos—they become part of the action. Good mysteries for kids should be complicated enough to be entertaining and believable enough for readers to identify with the characters. Feinstein succeeds at both; Rush for the Gold definitely wins a medal.