The Strangers

This week we’re reading an excellently crafted book by lauded children’s author Margaret Peterson Haddix. This is the first book in a series entitled Greystone Secrets, the beginning novel being this week’s read The Strangers.

The Story: Chess, Emma, and Finn are close as siblings can be. They stick together through anything, even when a trio of siblings exactly like them – names, ages, birthdays, everything – go missing in Arizona. The news says it’s kidnapping. Even though it’s far away, none of the children can shake the feeling that something odd is going on, especially as their mother continues to act cryptic and act out of character. When their mom goes missing completely, the three realize that it may be up to them to find her again. As they try to discover the truth with the help of their babysitter’s daughter, Natalie, a startling amount of questions begin to arise that need answer: where are they really from? What happened to Dad? And most importantly: will they ever get Mom back?

My Thoughts: I devoured this read over the course of one weekend, using every opportunity I could to read in large chunks. This is a book that grabs you from the opening chapters and manages to keep your attention throughout the story. There is a fair amount of perspective switching that doesn’t feel jarring and adds to the overall plot. Chess, Emma, and Finn are true to life siblings with understandable relationships. Natalie is by far one of the most engaging characters in this book; her interactions with her mother are natural and relatable for kids in her situation. The only criticisms I can make about this book is the big plot twist in the latter half of the book (but you’ll have to read to see why I say that). I highly recommend picking this book up; it won’t disappoint.

Parental Advisories: None! This is a clean, engaging children’s novel that any capable reader can enjoy, regardless of age.

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