I am pleased to be a part of the two-month long blog tour (That’s right two months!) for THE EXPLORERS: THE DOOR IN THE ALLEY. Next week the tour continues at these fine blogs:

May 15 Librarians Quest

May 16 The Book Wars

May 17 Middle Grade Mafioso

May 18 Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

May 19 Tween You & Me

I previously reviewed author, Adrian Kress, and her collaboration with Frank Bedder in HATTER MADIGAN: GHOST IN THE HATBOX. Adrienne also has numerous YA novels, anthologies, and plays she’s written. I was glad to see her new MG book and can safely declare—Break the longstanding rule and judge this book by its cover. It screams adventure, mystery, fun, and the beginning of a brand new series.

Upon closer inspection the cover features Sebastian, a bright boy who likes order and is thrown into a mystery. Catherine, one of the five adult explorers who is now wrapped up in a python. The Melted Man with a gruesome face, searching for a key and willing to kill for it. Hanging from a rope is Evie Drake, a parentless child searching for her explorer grandfather (This may also be a warning to readers that you will be left hanging at the end with one of those cliffhangers. I’ll have to endure for who knows how long with the question from young readers: When does the next one come out?)

The narration is quirky and full of humorous sidelights and plays on words. It’s like the dinner party guest who brings with her a pig wearing a teeny hat. You ask “What’s up with the pig?” and for the next several hours she fills you in, waving her arms around in the process. You don’t dare interrupt as the story has you laughing and begging to find out what happens next.

Yeah, what does happen next? I’ll be waiting.


FULL PLOT: Featuring a mysterious society, a secretive past, and a pig in a teeny hat, The Explorers: The Door in the Alley is the first book in a new series for fans of The Name of This Book Is a Secret and The Mysterious Benedict Society. Knock once if you can find it—but only members are allowed inside. 

This is one of those stories that start with a pig in a teeny hat. It’s not the one you’re thinking about. (This story is way better than that one.)

This pig-in-a-teeny-hat story starts when a very uninquisitive boy stumbles upon a very mysterious society. After that, there is danger and adventure; there are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, and famous explorers; and also a girl on a rescue mission.

The Explorers: The Door in the Alley is the first book in a series that is sure to hit young readers right in the funny bone.


  1. Each chapter title begins with “In which…” and some stretch several lines long. They all serve as a great lead-in to the action ahead.
  2. Surprising plot directions and dialog occur frequently. A great example is the punishment Sebastian receives for his misdeed: Act innappropriate.
  3. It was refreshing to have a character like Sebastian who breaks the mold by thinking logically about everything. This means he struggles with the choices he must make. Miss school for a day? How will he ever catch up?
  4. The mystery of the explorers, The Filipendulous Five, who disbanded and disappeared is a nice dangling carrot that will carry the story for many more books.
  5. Although we don’t see enough of the many strange rooms in The Explorers Society house, the ones we do get a peek at makes me hope they’ll be more time spent here in the next book.


Sebastian took a sip and found he rather did like tea with milk and sugar.


He nodded and she smiled. He took a bite of his cookie and then another sip of tea.

“Okay. Just so you understand what’s going to happen,” began the woman, “I’m going to call the police and have them come arrest you.”


Most rewarding?  Well when people like the book, that’s pretty sweet!  But I really really love making someone laugh.  And when someone says that the book is funny, or when I show someone a piece of writing and they just start laughing, I swear there is really nothing quite like that feeling.

There’s also the bigger thing, the being an inspiration thing, which is almost too big a thing for me to really appreciate.  I do get emails from kids, and even some adults, who tell me that my writing has inspired them in some way or another.  That just overwhelms me.  I’m deeply honoured that I can be that to people, and deeply humbled.

(For More visit Adrienne’s Author Website.)


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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3 Responses to THE EXPLORERS: THE DOOR IN THE ALLEY for Marvelous Middle Grade EXTRA

  1. That is a great cover! This sounds like a LOT of fun. I like the idea of a kid who causes challenges for himself by thinking logically. Funny idea. Thanks for the review.

  2. Now this sounds GREAT! Gotta see if our library system has it.

  3. Pingback: THE EXPLORERS–THE RECKLESS RESCUE | Always in the Middle…

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