Caroline has been treated with a trip to Italy for her fifteenth birthday. Thing is it’s not the luxury holiday she was imagining; she’s helping her uncle Tad on the archaeology site of a Villa in the ruins of Pompeii. Which isn’t too bad if Gianni could stop being a know-it-all and the rich guys would stop trying to sabotage the dig, and if the dogs all stopped disappearing mysteriously. We also have the story told by Nero, a dog of Pompeii, who is fighting alongside Caroline to save Pompeii.
Young adult stories are amazing. It’s like it’s a requirement that they must be easy to read, so that it doesn’t matter where you’re reading or what kind of noise or distractions are around you, you can settle in and get lost in the words instantly. That’s what happened here for me. I slipped into the story effortlessly while the television droned in the background and while the supervisors at work were discussing business with each other. And by doing that I finished reading it very quickly.
It was an interesting twist having the storytelling spit between a teen girl and a dog. I really liked that part. Caroline and Nero filled in the gaps between each other and highlighted the miscommunications between species. It was odd seeing Nero and the other dogs have such obvious human traits on display. Caroline was a little annoying in her own way, okay she was insipid and on the stupid side of things. But together they balanced each other out.
Plus, what was with the kidnapping and escapes and facing off with bad guys? Was this really a Nancy Drew book all along? The adventure seems far-fetched, but to a kid this probably is exciting and all very plausible. As an adult, I’m not sure what to think about it all. It was fun and kept the story rolling over quickly, never settling in one place for too long. Oh what the hell, I liked it. Definitely fed my adventure seeking junkie.
As a young adult I would say this is more for 13 and bellow. More along the lines of old school Nancy Drew. Don’t worry parents, if you give this to your child you’re not going to corrupt their minds with teens doing bad things, as there is no romance (even though it is occasionally hinted at), no bad language, and… well, they do drive dangerously, do keep secrets from the adults, don’t do as they’re told, and there is underage drinking (by accident on Gianni’s part). Yeah, maybe it isn’t that wholesome after all.
But it is fun and easy to read.