The Silver Guitar

by Kathryn Reiss
Series: American Girl Mysteries #
161 pages, Mystery
Reviewed by Ariel_of_Narnia

A wonderful mystery, but beware the moral issues of the main characters.


Julie Albright’s friend, T.J., is sure he’s in big trouble: he broke a guitar that is said to have been owned by a popular idol in the world of music. But through that action, a criminal scheme is uncovered. There’s a list of suspects and any one of them could have been behind the crime. If they could figure it out before a couple deadlines, they and the guitar owners would greatly appreciate it.


Julie has great concern for a huge oil spill and the fish and birds it’s killing; at the same time, though, she has improperly strong feelings against the tanker pilot (this is later remedied when she learns that he blacked out, possibly from a heart attack, before the tanker hit the rocks).

Julie and T.J. do what they can to solve the mystery; however, there are some moral issues here. T.J. hides the broken guitar and wishes to keep it a secret until he can get it fixed; he lets Julie into the secret and asks her to hide the guitar in her closet for the time being. T.J. does not wish to tell the owners anything yet, though he does plan to inform them when they return; however, when he does tell them, he leaves out a part of the tale. Julie keeps the secret, though she does advise T.J. to tell someone. Julie also feels bad about trespassing at one point.

One character is quite lazy. A couple others are dishonest at varying degrees.

Spiritual Content

Julie and her basketball team come to an auction with their fingers crossed for luck. For a moment, she is worried about ghosts.


Nothing of concern. A boy skateboards dangerously close to people, but collisions are avoided. And unless you’re a musical-instruments-rights activist, you’ll have no problem with a dropped guitar.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Julie enters a room that smells of stale cigarette.

Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content



This is one of the better American Girl mysteries. Complete with suspects and good clues against each of them, it's a fun book to read. However, Julie and T.J.'s actions are something of a moral problem and they do not resolve all of these issues.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 8-10

Review Rating:

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