I read this book because it is on the Best Books for Young Adults booklist for 2010. I don't think it should have been included, not because the book is bad, but because it's definitely a book adults will enjoy more than teens will. I don't mean that as a blanket judgment. I think teens on a high reading level who just love mystery and have sophisticated senses of humor might very well appreciate this. But I certainly wouldn't recommend it to 95% of teenagers.
That said, I LOVE this book. The heroine is terrific: precocious, bratty, smart-alecky, yet still a child and still vulnerable. The unfolding of the mystery follows the traditional formula, but Flavia is so much fun, the rest of the book is window-dressing anyway. How can you not love a kid who knows how to poison her sister's lipstick, who is so passionate about her area of interest (chemistry) that even saying related words elates her? Maybe that's just my inner nerd looking for camaraderie, but have no doubt: Flavia could kick Harriet the Spy's butt.
Recommend to: Mystery fans, anglophiles