The only thing Martika Galves and Jennifer Colton is that they are high school students getting ready for finals. That changes when Jennifer is kidnapped and Martika starts having dreams that let her see what Jennifer sees. After Martika explains this to her mom, Aurelia takes her to Tiá Tellín, a curandera (a Mayan medicine woman). From her aunt, Martika learns that she, like her ancestors, has special gifts. With Tiá Tellín's guidance and the help of her best friend Lola Lopez, Martika decides to help rescue Jennifer. The kidnappers have set a deadline and time is running out.
This is a fun, fast-paced story. Teens interested in the occult and Mayan history will especially enjoy the book. The contrasts of the Colton, Galves, and Lopez families are especially well done, as they are less about differences and more about similarities.
The tagline - "Meet the hip, urban Nancy Drew!" - set up expectations that didn't match the story. For me, the story was more about Martika discovering her gifts and the cultural content than the mystery. Nancy Drew mysteries were less about her, more about the clues, and left no cliffhangers. They were also for an upper elementary and middle grade audience. Because of Mojito, Chasing the Jaguar skews to an older audience.
Teen sleuths will enjoy this well-paced story that wraps cultural celebration and history in a "traditional" mystery. Don't mistake this as a "girl book."
The profanity is mild and very minimal. Jennifer's kidnappers are gang members, one of whom, Mojito, is frequently described as being "out of control." He uses drugs, drinks alcohol, and makes several very direct references to assaulting and raping Jennifer.
This is a teen mystery set in Hollywood.
Enjoy this for the mystery, then encourage your reader to explore more about the Maya and traditional medicine women. What questions do they have they wish to have answers for?
14 and Up
13 and Up
Borrow. The story is fun, suspenseful, and would make a great read aloud.