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Ben Guterson

Middle Grade, Christy Ottaviano Books, 2024

In this thrilling mystery from an award-winning author, Zander is determined to do whatever it takes to save his grandmother’s nineteen-story out-of-this-world department store—perfect for fans of THE SWIFTS and THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY. 
Zander Olinga’s grandmother is the owner of the fabled Number Nine Plaza, the spectacular nineteen-story skyscraper. The Nine, as it’s called, has everything imaginable, including a massive Ferris wheel on its rooftop, monorail tracks suspended from its ceiling, and twenty-five glass elevators. But there’s something evil looming in the shadows, and strange accidents start befalling the guests. When Zander and his friend Natasha come across a series of inscriptions hidden throughout the walls of The Nine, they discover that the clues will lead them to a magical object which protects the store’s very existence. With the future of The Nine on the line, the pair are determined to recover the mysterious object before the luxury plaza and its many guests are destroyed. 
Featuring an unforgettable setting and a larger-than-life cast of characters, here’s a spellbinding mystery involving puzzles, art, and high-stakes adventure.


Rights Sold:

World: Christy Ottaviano Books


"Ben Guterson dives headlong into adventure, employing flights of fancy and imagination and humorous situations to instantly charm readers. A large, multiethnic cast of secondary adult characters balances the tweens’ youthful exuberance with caring, patient instruction, while [illustrator] Kristina Kister brings the grandiose setting to life, imbuing it with a wonder reminiscent of department stores of yesteryear."

―Publishers Weekly


"Coded clues put two young sleuths on the trail of a magic mandala hidden somewhere in a huge, bustling department store…. The keys are a series of ingenious word and number clues, and Guterson provides enough hints along the way for savvy readers to decode them." ―Kirkus Reviews

"Like Hogwarts, Narnia, or Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, the luxury department store The Nine is a place full of wonders and secrets. Add a kid with a brave heart, and this puzzly, page-turning mystery swept me away." ―Elise Broach, award-winning author of MASTERPIECE AND DUET

"A department store with doughnut machines, a Tiffany glass ceiling, and its own iceberg? A story with word puzzles, trick boxes, and a mystery as big as The Nine itself? There’s exactly one problem with THE WORLD-FAMOUS NINE: you won’t be able to stop planning your own trip." ―Cory Leonardo, author of THE SIMPLE ART OF FLYING

"A masterwork of original characters, tangled up in a mystery set in an otherworldly place. THE WORLD-FAMOUS NINE reads like an instant classic." ―Chris Baron, author of THE MAGICAL IMPERFECT, a Sydney Taylor Notable Book

"An imaginative, suspenseful story. Young readers will delight in exploring The Nine with Zander and puzzle over the cryptic messages he is determined to solve in order to save his family's legacy." ―Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, New York Times bestselling author of the Book Scavenger series and SISTERHOOD OF SLEUTHS

"A perfect blend of whimsy, humor, and adventure!" ―R. M. Romero, author of THE DOLLMAKER OF KRAKOW

"Zander Olinga is off to spend the next five weeks of summer at his grandmother’s world-famous department store, The Number Nine Plaza. Within hours of Zander’s arrival, The Nine is abuzz with news about strange and dangerous things happening. The electricity is on the fritz, and an employee is attacked…. The Nine is a fantastical place full of shops and activities that will surely tickle readers’ imaginations."

―School Library Journal

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