Open If You Dare
by Dana Middleton
published by Feiwel and Friends
You know that saying, it fits like a glove? That is how you might want to describe this book - that's how it feels, it has pitch perfect middle grade voice. Reading this book was like fitting myself right back into my middle school life.
- the importance of friendship
- friends changing - all of a sudden there is this leap from being a kid to being a tween to being a teenager - and everyone gets there at different times.
- wanting to hold on to something steady because everything around you is changing
- that rebellious time when your parents are always against you, or at least that's what it feels like
- family responsibility of taking care of younger siblings even though all you want to do is hang out with your friends
Add on top of that a fun mystery. Birdie and her friends, Ally and Rose, find a buried box with the ominous words "open if you dare" written on it. And what tween would listen to that sage advice? Certainly not these three! And the mystery begins! Found inside is an unused Allman Brothers concert ticket dated from 1973 (of course the girls have no idea who the band is!), a mood ring, and a cryptic message about dead girls (one of them being the person who left the note) and a murder.
Birdie becomes quite obsessed with solving this case and drags her more reluctant friends along with her. While solving the murder is a big part of the summer, they also are faced with this being their last summer together. The end of the summer will bring Rose moving back to England and Ally and Birdie starting different middle schools. The rest of the summer is sports, violin practicing and murder solving!
I really enjoyed this book. By the halfway point I was sucked into the story and raced to finish it. I think Middleton will reach her middle grade readers because they are going to be able to relate to everything that is happening to the characters. I think the perfect spot for this book is for 5th grade and up. Another great middle grade book to add to your library! Be sure to look for it on October 17th!