Jacqueline Harvey, Freefall (Kensy and Max #5), Puffin Books, March 2020, 400 pp., RRP $16.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780143796985
Kensy and Max: Freefall is the fifth instalment in this exciting series of adventure books by Jacqueline Harvey. Once again, the twins Kensy and Max find themselves with a mystery to solve, a villain to capture, and as well, a criminal is on the loose.
Freefall takes place in the skyscraperhigh city of New York USA. Granny Cordelia, the children’s delightfully unconventional and highly accomplished grandmother, has invited Kensy and Max to holiday with her in the city ‘that never sleeps’. The twins also have the added excitement of their friend, Curtis Pepper joining them. Kensy and Max soon learn that Curtis, with his spy backpack and quick thinking, turns out to be the best companion they could have as they confront dangerous situations together. But Granny Cordelia has her own reason for inviting Curtis on their holiday; she is considering inviting him to join Pharos, the family spy agency, and their time in New York will be perfect to test his abilities and suitability.
There is a lot happening in Kensy and Max: Freefall. The plot keeps you on edge while concentration is certainly required to keep track of the large cast of characters involved in all the various situations. Thankfully, as in the other books in this series, Harvey cleverly assists us with a character listing in the very front of the book, some within family groupings; the Pharos case notes and reference map in Freefall provide context.
The most endearing aspect in this series of Jacqueline Harvey’s, is the relationship between twins, Kensy and Max, and their strong bond with family and friends. In their role as Pharos spy agents, they must work together to resolve numerous mysteries amid danger, secrecy, and intrigue; they are a resourceful and reliable team. The children are independent in their thinking and their actions; and brave as they focus on the ‘greater good’ to resolve problems and plan effective measures toward a successful outcome.
The chapters are lengthy however there is a lot of background to establish toward setting the solid foundation for the excitement and drama that unfolds. Kensy and Max: Freefall is the story of three resilient children — twins Kensy and Max, and their friend Curtis — who overcome perilous situations in often unfamiliar places.
Reviewed by Jennifer Mors