I got this book on my shelf, and I don’t even remember buying it, but I accidentally stumbled across one of the best middle-grade books I can remember reading in a long time.
It starts out dark and mysterious, with notes that predict things about Miranda’s life that even she doesn’t know. How did the stranger know where she kept the spare key? Why did that boy punch Miranda’s friend for no reason? Who took Jimmy’s Fred Flintstone bank? The little mysteries kept me, an adult reader going, and I imagine most middle-grade readers would find it similar.
Miranda’s favorite book is A WRINKLE IN TIME, which is referenced again again while not actually being mentioned by name. Because the story takes place in the late seventies, the book is quite familiar to Miranda’s friends, and sparks discussions about time travel. Time travel also affects the plot, so it’s technically sci-fi but doesn’t feel like itt. I won’t specify how the time travel affects the plot because I want you to read this book for yourself.
One of the subplots is Miranda’s mother, and her goal of winning the $20,000 pyramid game show. Her mother is a paralegal, a single mother, and the lack of money is something that isn’t so much openly discussed as openly noticed. It’s a subtle thing that affects Miranda’s relationships with her friends. Her mother felt like a real person, trying her best and sometimes making mistakes.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s short, easy to read, well-suited to middle-grade readers (11-12-year-olds) and has believable characters and an interesting plot. It would stand a second reading. Highly recommend.