It's Elementary

Elise Bryant

Book cover for It's Elementary
Book cover for It's Elementary

It's Elementary

It's Elementary

Elise Bryant

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A fast-paced, completely delightful new mystery about what happens when parents get a little too involved in their kids' schools, from NAACP Image Award nominee Elise Bryant.

Mavis Miller is not a PTA mom. She has enough on her plate with her feisty seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, an exhausting job at a nonprofit, and the complexities of a multigenerational household. So no one is more surprised than Mavis when she caves to Trisha Holbrook, the long-reigning, slightly terrifying PTA president, and finds herself in charge of the school's brand-new DEI committee.

As one of the few Black parents at this California elementary school, Mavis tries to convince herself this is an opportunity for real change. But things go off the rails at the very first meeting, when the new principal's plans leave Trisha absolutely furious. Later that night, when Mavis spies Trisha in yellow rubber gloves and booties, lugging cleaning supplies and giant black trash bags to her waiting minivan, it's only natural that her mind jumps to somewhere it surely wouldn't in the light of day.

Except Principal Smith fails to show up for work the next morning, and has been MIA since the meeting. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Mavis, along with the school psychologist with the great forearms (look, it's worth noting), launches an investigation that will challenge her views on parenting, friendship, and elementary school politics.

Brilliantly written, It's Elementary is a quick-witted, escapist romp that perfectly captures just how far parents will go to give their kids the very best, all wrapped in a mystery that will leave you guessing to the very end.

About the Author

Elise Bryant is the NAACP Image Award-nominated author of Happily Ever Afters, One True Loves, and Reggie and Delilah's Year of Falling. For many years, Elise had the joy of working as a special education teacher, and now she spends her days reading, writing, and eating dessert. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Long Beach, California. You can visit her online at

Critical Reviews

"It's Elementary is the coziest of cozy mysteries. With the intrigue and drama of Big Little Lies and the warmth and humor of Abbott Elementary, Elise Bryant's first foray into the genre is a delight. A perfect next read for anyone looking for a charming cast, clever writing, and a hint of romance alongside their whodunit."--Emily Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Funny Story

"Sassy and spirited, Elise Bryant's It's Elementary is the perfect puzzle to unravel under the covers. This cozy mystery isn't just about finding out who did it- it's about finding yourself along the way." --Christina Lauren, NYT bestselling authors of The True Love Experiment

"Mavis's first-person-present narration evinces a razor-sharp wit, complementing the clever, twist-riddled plot of YA author Bryant's effervescent adult debut. Myriad mysteries and an enchanting will-they-or-won't-they romance work in tandem to maintain tension throughout, while boldly drawn characters help spotlight issues such as racism, gentrification, and the devaluation of female labor...A smart, funny novel that's certain to make a splash."--Kirkus, starred review

"Filled with snappy dialogue, laugh-out-loud scenes, quirky characters, a solid mystery, and a dash of romance, here's hoping there'll be more stories about Mavis." --Library Journal

"In It's Elementary, [Bryant] mixes parental insanity with a sly mystery about a missing school principal. Bryant raises excellent questions about access to education while delivering a novel with hefty portions of both suspense and satire."--The Washington Post

"Beautifully written and well-paced, this delightful novel explores the many friends and family who surround Mavis, the struggles she experiences, and the love that flows throughout."--First Clue Reviews

"A fast-paced, completely delightful new mystery."--NerdDaily

Publishing Information

Publisher: Berkley Books
Pub date: 2024-07-09
Length: 368 pages

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