Rumors are flying about Natalia, the new girl in school. She’s so quiet that everyone is sure she’s hiding something. Was her father a drug lord in Mexico, killed by rival gangs? Or were her parents Russian spies, caught doing what spies do? Maybe she’s the sole survivor of a plane crash?!?
Mickey Rangel, fifth-grade detective extraordinaire, knows all of the stories going around are bogus. But when his arch rival, Bucho, challenges him for the answer, Mickey vows to crack the case of the new girl. He’ll prove once and for all that he’s the real deal, a private detective!
Natalia is peculiar. She’s very skinny, and eats her lunch so quickly that Mickey wonders if she got something more appetizing than he did. She never talks, and her shoes and clothing are worn and shabby. But his efforts to discover the girl’s secret come up empty, until he overhears a conversation. Is Natalia really one of those undocumented children he has heard about on the news? Did she really travel all the way from Guatemala by herself? Why would she leave her family? And why would her parents let her go?
Educator René Saldaña, Jr. effectively shows intermediate readers that the issue of immigration isn’t always black and white. And in this case, Mickey learns some hard truths about being a detective and a good person, ultimately realizing that some mysteries are best left unsolved.