"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

31 August 2018

The Strangers

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. The Strangers. Katherine Tegen Books, 2019.

Chess, Emma, and Finn come home from school to find their mother staring at her laptop, where there is a news recording of three children in Arizona who have been kidnapped. Three children who have the exact same first and middle names as they do and who share their birthdays. The next day their mother has to leave town for work, and the trio stumble into a mystery that has them looking for clues, breaking secret codes, and traveling to other worlds.

I remember reading and loving Haddix's Hidden Children series as well as her book Running Out of Time. I was very excited, then, to receive a digital ARC of this book to review. Similar to Haddix's other books, this book is filled with lots of action and adventure to help keep kids reading and turning the pages. Unlike many of her other works, though, this one has a rather slow build. There is a lot of explanation and a lot of description of the kids sitting around trying to figure things out. If you have read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, you'll remember the 100+ pages when Harry and Hermione (and sometimes Ron) are camping - they move from place to place and keep trying to figure things out, but there isn't much action in that section of the book. It's the same in this book for the first 75% or so.

It's a very slow build up, which makes it quite different from many other of Haddix's shorter, compelling stories. Because of this, I wouldn't give this book to a reluctant or struggling reader, but I would give it to a child who enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time, and I would give it to a child who had read all of Haddix's other works and was looking for a new book to read. The story is interesting, but not compelling. It's a solid clean read, though, so keep it on your shelves for patrons who want books without violence or language.

Recommended for: middle grade
Red Flags: mild peril
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

Read-Alikes: Book Scavenger, What We Found In the Sofa and How It Saved the World, A Wrinkle in Time

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Edelweiss for the purpose of review.

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