Wren is impulsive, curious, and always in trouble. Can her flaws become her greatest asset?
Wren Sterling has a problem. She knows she’s super smart and a good friend, but no matter how hard she tries, she can’t shake her reputation as a troublemaker. It feels like the only people who believe in her are her three best friends in the Renegade Girls Tinkering Club. She’d hoped middle school would be different, but when her inability to control her temper causes an accident, even her beloved STEM Club is no longer a safe haven.
She has to find a way to fix it. When her idea to start a business inventing and selling spy gadgets succeeds, it looks like she’s finally done something right! But then the Club is accused of a crime. Can they use their own gadgets, and a little bit of trouble to solve the mystery? If they can find the real culprit, Wren may just discover she has a bright future after all. If they can’t, she could lose her best friends forever.
“It’s The Babysitter’s Club meets MacGyver!”
Build your own SPY GADGETS! Instructions included in this charming story about friendship, middle school, and the Engineering Design Process for kids ages 8-12.
Technically it was Wren’s Greenhouse, hidden behind her family's small home in the middle of San Francisco, but all the Renegades felt at home there. In the Greenhouse, they didn't have to worry about other people's rules and opinions. Or try to be boring or be like everyone else. The Greenhouse was their safe space. They could just be themselves. Wren's parents let them use it as their workshop and clubhouse as long as her little sister, Trixie, could be part of the club.
When they'd formed the Renegade Girls Tinkering Club, the Greenhouse had been abandoned and filled with broken pots and spiderwebs. It was small and dirty, but had everything they needed. A door hidden like a secret behind an overgrown wisteria vine. A back wall with shelves from floor to ceiling, and excellent light from a front wall made entirely of glass. A small but sturdy potting table sat against the windows. It was pleasant and warm, with one electrical outlet and a small work sink. They loved it from the first time they saw it.
Amber, Kammie, Ivy, Wren, and even Trixie had worked tirelessly last summer, cleaning and gathering assorted leftovers, recyclables, and a mishmash of bins to put them in. They categorized and labelled, collected cardboard by cutting down shipping boxes, and saved empty toilet paper rolls from the trash. They snuck random scissors from kitchen drawers, ribbons, buttons, anything that looked useful or had an interesting shape. Amber had borrowed a folding card table from her garage, and Kammie brought in some stools her parents were getting rid of. Wren found an old glue gun, and they had even managed to find an unused sewing machine. The first purchase with their club dues had been copies of the side gate key, so everyone could head directly into the backyard when they came over.
Amber rocketed through that side gate, clutching a cardboard box protectively to her chest with her delicate arms. Beneath a spring green sundress her feet, in their pristine white flats, skipped quickly and skillfully over the ground. The September afternoon sun lit up her auburn hair like a fiery halo.
In 1996, Terri left Colorado, where she grew up, and headed even more West until she couldn’t get any West-er. Landing in San Francisco, her career spanned more than a decade in 3D character animation for video games, films, television shows, and even a comic book (but mostly video games.) Her work encompassed character animation, art direction, and story development before she had children and, imagining a better world for them, co-founded the Renegade Girls Tinkering Club with her friend Vicky in 2015. Since then she’s created over a dozen curricula and assisted in creating half a dozen more, encompassing more than 230 individual projects.
She lives in San Francisco with 2 rowdy children and a fabulous, brilliant husband who brings her tea every night.
International Giveaway: The Renegade Girls Tinkering Club Trilogy (Digital)
My thoughts: I wish the Renegade Girls Tinkering Club had been around when I was a kid, I liked all the science-y stuff they did, building cool gadgets and learning about circuits and things. My dad’s an engineer and I got quite into that side of science at school.
The book is a lot of fun and there are illustrated guides to building your own cool spy gadgets, and templates to download on the website. There’s also a mystery to solve and one very smart little sister too.
I felt sorry for Wren, it can be really hard when your brain works differently from other people and I didn’t like maths lessons either. But she has great friends and I’m glad she and Amber patched things up, those years just before your teens can be tough and good friends are worth hanging onto as you get older.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.