I was so excited when the author contacted me if I would love to read her newest book, an MG! I was all in! I loved the author’s YA debut and I was eager to see how her MG debut would be.
In this book plenty of things happened and I just wasn’t bored. Not at all. I was invested! And you know, it sucks when you cannot sleep, but if that means you can read a good book? I can forgive my body just a bit for not sleeping. XD I just read on and 3 hours later I was done and could try again for the sleeping part.
In this book we follow a girl named Tessa. She loves track. She loves her family. She has great friends. Is good at school. But there are things that aren’t working out, her mom is pregnant and she isn’t sure how to handle not being a single kid any more. Her friends are also getting more and more distracted by their own things. And then there are the notes. I loved the notes (I will speak about them more later). At the start I found them creepy, but then later as things happened? I didn’t think they were that creepy any more. OK, maybe that waterbottle part had me doubting for a hot minute. XD I really loved reading about Tessa and her life. I wish I could step in and join the girls. That dance squad sounds amazing~
I just LOVE LOVE how Tessa’s mom pregnancy was handled. You see that the whole family is having a tough time, the baby is unexpected (though welcome… well at least by the parents) and we see everyone struggling. But Tessa the most. Which I can imagine. She has been an only kid for like 13 years and the baby’s expected day of coming out is around her birthday. I can understand that she is angry, frustrated, and maybe even mean. But what I love is that her parents and everyone around her respects her feelings. Don’t tell her to hide it. Don’t tell her to just suck it up. Don’t tell her to just get on with it. They don’t get angry, just shower her in more love. This is so rare in so many MG books in which an unexpected pregnancy threatens to throw over all the normalcy of the day. So it was a delight to see everyone just give Tessa room. Tell her it is OK. They talk with her about it. Try to make the best out of it. Same with the birthday (which btw I was for sure would be overtaken by a baby), I just loved that despite how Tessa was acting, her parents didn’t get angry at her, instead tried to make her happy and still make a good day about it. I loved how when the baby was there Tessa was allowed to stay out of the way, the parents made sure that she wouldn’t be overwhelmed, and loved that Tessa decided to also partake in helping out a bit, even if that was just running with the baby stroller (special one for running).
The author really managed to capture these characters. They were really their age and I love that. Plus, I love the characters that we got. Well, OK, except Ethan, and maybe a dash of Skylar when she was still gung-ho about Ethan and just couldn’t stop talking about him. But I did love the other characters, Leah, Riley, Mason, the parents, the coach. They were well-written and none of them were flat cut-outs, they were all very much real. Each of them had their own things going on and I loved finding out about it (sometimes it took a while) and see Tessa try to help out her friends, try to talk to them about what is going on. Mason was just the cutest and I loved the conversations between him and Tessa. The bet for some dinner. How he talked and listened when she needed it. There chats about books (Hobbits and Nancy Drew).
The track parts were really fun. I am not a running girl myself, but I do love reading about it and at times also watch some competitions. See people just fly over the field. Tessa is a superstar, for real. I just love how driven she is and how she keeps looking for new challenges. How she keeps improving herself. How she keeps finding the best in herself. I loved how she could relax and just forget about things for a moment during the track practices and meets. Plus, she was so sweet and friendly towards everyone. Even when there was a girl just being crappy, she kept her cool.
I loved the ending, with cats (so adorable), some new rules to the treehouse, and I am very curious about that case and what it will entail (though I can already kind of guess a culprit XD).
The little images with each chapter were a fun addition! I always love it when authors add just a bit extra to the chapters. Some with funny chapter names, others with fun illustrations.
There was just one thing that I wished, that there was more detective agency and more mystery. Sure, we get those notes and a fleeing cat and maybe a few meetings (where they mostly just eat pizza, bicker a bit, Skylar talking about Ethan), but there aren’t that many of those, and unlike what the cover makes it seem there aren’t envelopes streaming out of her locker and neither are her friends aware that she is having someone putting in notes. She keeps it all to herself. So I feel that could have been made bigger or maybe made less of a big thing if you just want to keep it in the background.
All in all, if you are looking for a MG with sports, fab characters, handling a new brother/sister, a dash of romance, and a bit of mystery, then this is your book! Try it out!