Book Review: Southern Gothic by Bridgette Alexander

Celine Caldwell is caught up in a mystery that could destroy her whole world. Her mom, curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, has been accused of stealing two paintings. It’s up to Celine to discover who stole the paintings and get them back before her mom is arrested. With the help of her friends, including Sandy, a boy she’s grown up with but has started to think of as more than a friend lately, Celine unravels a story with a history as old as the paintings.

Southern Gothic: A Celine Caldwell Mystery by Bridgette Alexander, is set in the upscale world of New York art collectors, museum patrons, and curators. Readers learn a lot about the art world as they follow Celine in her adventure. This is the first book of a new series, and the author, herself a modern art historian, hopes to hook teens on the fascinating world of art through the mysteries Celine solves along the way.

While the dialogue between Celine and the people she knows can sometimes seem stilted and unrealistic, and Celine sometimes leaps to conclusions with scant evidence, the story is interesting and moves along quickly. History about the lives of African Americans under Jim Crow days and their vulnerability in a turbulent time is a poignant backdrop to the stories of famous art. Southern Gothic should appeal to teens interested in both art and history.

The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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