There can be quite a spread in the style of books written for middle grade readers, especially because this age group includes both those youth who are just getting comfortable with chapter books and those who are nearly ready for young adult titles. Relatively Normal Secrets falls toward the beginning of that spectrum because of its straightforward plot and accessible design. But, it is layered with humor and problem-solving, and middle grade readers will appreciate the fun and quirky adventure surrounding siblings Tuesday and Zed Furst. I laughed out loud several times while reading this book, and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. Please see my full review below!
Siblings Tuesday and Zed Furst lead an ordinary life...mostly. Despite going to school and having friends like other kids their age, their parents are frustratingly vague about the details of their life and their dog is unlike any others they know. Tuesday has her own theories about why this may be the case, but without proof, Zed remains skeptical. But, when their parents leave on an unprecedented business trip together and the siblings open the front door without first verifying who might be visiting, they find themselves on an adventure that takes them far from home. They must combine their individual sleuthing abilities to decode mysterious clues in order to find their way back to their relatively normal life.
Written for a newer middle grade audience, this book is an excellent fit for independent readers who are prepared for longer chapter books. Humor is interspersed throughout the narrative in the form of comical events and clever word play, and readers will find themselves chuckling aloud at the circumstances that arise for the characters in the story. Zed loves lists, and these appear throughout the book to orient readers to the events in the story as well as to provide a visual respite from the narrative itself. Told in the third person from the perspectives of several characters, this book gives readers a solid amount of information to consider as they engage with the story.
Though Tuesday and Zed are twelve and ten years old respectively, the adventure they undertake in this book challenges their independence and strengthens their bond with one another, helping them both grow into more mature humans in the process. Help from adults finds them intermittently, but the siblings must primarily rely upon one another and their trusty dog for survival. Concise chapters and a direct and straightforward plot make this book an accessible and enjoyable selection for those who enjoy adventure and humor in the books they read. This is an excellent addition to library collections for middle grade readers.
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