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  • Writer's pictureSeema M. Fazil

The Test Case (The Hardy Boys #171) by Franklin W. Dixon

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

Title: The Test Case

Series: The Hardy Boys

Author: Franklin W. Dixon

Release Date: January 1, 2002

Publisher: Aladdin

Purchase: This book may be out of print, but fortunately, it is available as a Kindle format on Amazon, or you can keep your eyes out on it in your local secondhand bookstore, used Amazon, or Better World Books. Or, check if your local public library has it.

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Rating: ★★★★☆


A new statewide test has all the students at Bayport High on edge. Then Joe and his friend Tony find one of the tests in Tony’s bookbag. Joe knows Tony didn’t steal it, but the assistant principal isn’t so understanding: He suspends them both!
Joe talks to the truck driver who delivered the tests, as well as the owner of a tutoring service who promises amazing improvements in test scores. Frank checks out who could have put the test in Tony’s bag—a bag just like the one belonging to a star of the hockey team. Joe and Tony are still in the penalty box, but the Hardys are determined to ace this case!


My Review:

I'm so glad I finally picked up The Test Case on my Kindle after it's been on my TBR for so long.

This installment of the Hardy Boys series starts off with a fun ice-skating party in Bayport, giving me the nice winter vibes, before things get intense when Joe and his friend, Tony find one of the tests for the State Achievement Battery (SAB), a statewide test that is a must for all students at Bayport High to take, in Tony's backpack! Neither Joe nor Tony took the test. So how is it in Tony's backpack? Unfortunately, the assistant principal wasn't so understanding as he suspends them both!

As how I expected him to be, loved how Frank wasn't dumb to believe that Joe and Tony cheated - I knew he'd believe that his brother was innocent and would do everything to clear his name. As usual, like in any Hardy Boys book, loved the amazing brother teamwork. In this particular installment though, I was especially impressed with the fact that, despite the Hardys being separated (with Frank at school and Joe being suspended), how they managed to still be able to work together!

The beginning of The Test Case was slow, but as the mystery progressed, it became intriguing with intense scenes as the case of the missing test really sounded fishy. 👀

Who was that mysterious person that students in Bayport High kept getting calls from, selling them the test? Also, it really sounded strange that Tony was in the same place at the same time as the delivery truck and the cartons of test... Yes, I said that right. Their friend was a suspect too! 👀

I couldn't believe just how stupid the principal, Mr. Chambers, was. I hoped that he'd at least be a bit smarter than his assistant and investigate the issue further, but it turned out he was just as stupid, maybe even worse! It was so horrifying how he was making Joe and Tony sign a confession for something they didn't even do, just wanting to sweep the issue under the rug! Confessing to something you didn't do is just not right and unfair! It seemed to me that he cared more about the reputation of the school than who was guilty. Great for Joe speaking up and fighting for his right, with Frank's support, of course.

Finally, while I really enjoyed this Hardy Boys book and found it intriguing, there were a few issues I had with it that made me knock out a star. First, there was a little mess in the writing somewhere in the middle of the book (for e.g. the author seems to have forgotten that it was Iola who introduced that Brendan guy to Frank), but that issue wasn't much compared to the ending. Honestly, I expected the ending to be way better than that. But instead, it felt rushed and kinda left me with unanswered questions. It left me with 'And then...?'

***Spoiler*** I know Carl got a consequence for being rude to the coach, but I can't help but wonder. What about the consequences for icing the Hardys' driveaway, leaving a threatening note in Callie's locker, and throwing a puck at the Hardys' window? And about the hockey coach, Dobeney. Okay, so I got his motive for attempting to frame Brad Austin, but the bigger question was: Why did he choose to betray Bayport's hockey team? Also, why did he make those calls to students selling them the test? We never got an answer to that. Also, did Mr. Chambers finally lift Joe and Tony's suspensions after finally knowing who the real criminal was? We never got an answer to that, either. ***Spoiler***

Overall, other than the issues, I really enjoyed this Hardy Boys book, and would recommend to Hardy Boys fans.

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