Review - Kidnap in the Caribbean

Kidnap In The Caribbean (Laura Marlin Mysteries)Title: Kidnap in the Caribbean
Author: Lauren St Jon
Genre: Middle Grade, Adventure
Publication: July 1 2011, Orion Children's Books
Pages: 217 pages
Source: Library book
Laura cannot contain her excitement when she wins a trip to the Caribbean for herself and her uncle, Calvin Redfern, especially when her best friend, Tariq, and her three-legged husky, Skye, accidentally find themselves on board too. But when they dock at Antigua, they discover that Calvin Redfern has vanished, and Laura and Tariq are about to be kidnapped by the fearsome Straight A gang. Dramatic escapes, an erupting volcano and a race against time to stop the deadly undercover 'Marine Concern' make Laura's second adventure every bit as exciting as the first. *From Amazon 
I absolutely adore Lauren St John's books. Every book I have read by her has been a phenomenal reading experience. Her books export you to exotic places around the world, her writing so incredibly scenic and beautiful, that you could very well be right there. In Africa. Cornwall. And most recently, the Caribbean. Specifically Antigua.

I read my first book of hers when I lived in England, and that happened to be a beautiful, haunting novel: The White Giraffe. After reading it, I pretty much fell in love with her books. Last year I read the first book in her brand new middle-grade series and I loved it! It had that perfect, gloomy, mysterious vibe to it, which was perfect to read on a grey, windy day, which I did. All I can remember is that I absolutely adored it!


When I saw the second one at the library, I immediately took it out without a moment's hesitation. And I'm so glad I did.

Because. I. Loved. It!

The Kidnap in the Caribbean is a middle-grade mystery novel, the second book in Laura Marlin series. When Laura wins a holiday to the Caribbean for her and her Uncle, she is beyond ecstatic, as much as she loves her new home in Cornwall (as she lived in an orphanage for most her life until they discovered that she had a living relative), she could imagine nothing better than swimming with dolphins in turquoise lagoons and then drinking coconut milk while swaying in a hammock. Her Uncle is sure it is all a scam (he is an ex-detective) but after awhile he makes his mind up after a mysterious meeting with a stranger in the early hours of the morning, that Laura managed to catch a glimpse of. As soon as they set aboard for the Caribbean there is non-stop action..and drama, and as soon as they set sail, Laura starts to feel a feeling of dread in her stomach, that maybe this Caribbean holiday isn't going to be exactly what she had in mind..

What I loved most about Kidnap in the Caribbean, was the setting. Lauren St John is an author that writes the most amazing scenic descriptions. I have always wanted to go to a tropical island, and by reading Kidnap in the Caribbean I could do just that! She captured the scenery perfectly in her descriptive passages. The white sand and the clear, perfectly still turquoise water lapping at the shore. You literally feel as if you're right there. So if you've never had a dangerous adventure on a tropical island but you're yearning too, read this book, as it will give you an experience of a lifetime!

The characters are well developed and interesting. Usually when I read a middle-grade novel, the characters can be considerably bland, however in Kidnap of the Caribbean, it is the exact opposite. 

We have four main characters in Kidnap of the Caribbean: Laura (our protagonist), Skye (the protagonist's dog), Tariq (the protagonist's best friend) and Calvin Redfern (the protagonist's uncle). What separates Kidnap in the Caribbean from other novels in the middle-grade category  is the uniqueness of each of the characters' voices. If I was reading I could easily differentiate one character from the other. One of the secondary characters, a boy they met on the cruise ship called Jimmy, also had a unique personality that shone through.

Laura Marlin is our main character, with an eye for detail and a thirst for adventure. With her clue-sniffing, hero-saving Siberian husky by her side, as well as her best friend, Tariq, who was a former, modern day slave that her and her Uncle managed to rescue, they live a life of adventure and excitement! But of course everything isn't fun and games when you have criminal delinquents chasing after you, but of course, Laura and her entourage manage to save the day!

I love Laura, she is such an amazing role model. She helps people out and she keeps a clear hear even when she is distressed. Tariq use to be a modern day slave, he lived a life full of undeserving punishments and hardships, yet he is kind and sweet to everyone he meets.

Another main character that my feelings varied for was Jimmy. Jimmy was a ten year old boy they met on the cruise ship, a boy that they initially considered a pest and a nuisance, however, Tariq reminds Laura that maybe he is lonely and thinks that by boasting and acting clever will get him friends. Towards the beginning of meeting Jimmy, I couldn't stand him, he was quite a pest and his boastful disposition bothered me ocassionally, however my viewing of him changed drastically, as I saw that he was just a lonely child that was bored, that wanted friends and adventure. And at the end of the book, little Jimmy ended up saving the day! There was a lot of character development, which Lauren St John write brilliantly.

My thoughts on the plot as times were quite contradictory. There were parts where I was thinking this is the perfect blend of action, mystery and suspense, whereas other times I felt that the plot was a bit crammed. Needless to say, it all worked out well in the end and I was left satisfied.

Kidnap in the Caribbean is a fantastic action-packed novel that will have you hastily turning the pages. As well as being packed with mystery and action, the characters teach you notable life lessons on their journey from Cornwall to Antigua and back again, lessons such as loyalty, kindness and encouragement and to practice the act of being calm and level-headed when danger strikes. A perfect novel by a perfect novel. Like I said, if you want to experience the feeling of being on a tropical island whilst having an adventure, read this book and it will magically whisk you away to the beautiful island of Antigua.

I give it: 4/5 CUPCAKES!