It's been a long, long time since I read these books. Long enough that I've forgotten pretty much everything that happens. So when I got to a scene, early in the book, where one of the main characters is being framed, and the other main characters appear ready to buy into it, I cringed. That kind of plot--the kind that could so easily be cleared up by five seconds of conversation, but isn't--is one of my least favorites in fiction.
Fortunately, I kept reading, and within about two paragraphs, the characters had cleared things up. By talking. Like normal people do.
That's why I love this series. The plot, at least for this volume, is nothing to write home about. The worldbuilding is limited, the magic system basic. But the characters are plucky and sensible--even the adults, who help rather than hinder the young protagonists and who are present in their lives without being overbearing. They're people I would like to actually know. And that makes reading about them a pleasure.
On a side note, I remember having quite a crush on Hawk at age 12. That attraction now mystifies me. Apparently I've gotten over my bad boy thing?