Thursday, September 19, 2019


Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Remarkables
September 24th 2019 by Katherine Tegen Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Marin and her family move from Indiana to Pennsylvania for her mother's new job as a professor of nursing. Her father, a physical education teacher, is still looking for work, so he is the at home parent for Marin and her baby brother Owen. Marin had two good friends in Indiana, Ashlyn and Kenner, but had fallen out with them because of typical friend drama. She is concerned that she won't be able to find new friends in the new town, so is intrigued when she sees high school age students at a house in the woods... until they disappear! She meets her neighbor's grandson, Charley, who has also seen these people, whom he calls "remarkables". Charley and his two brothers are living with their grandmother because his parents are struggling with drug addiction. The father's problems are tied to an incident twenty years in the past that claimed the life of his friend. At a party, the father was cooking and took the batteries out of a smoke detector when it when off; later, a fire caused his friend's death. Marin starts to understand that the "remarkables" are Charley's dad and his friends before the accident occurs, and she tries to figure out how the two of them can change the past. As she navigates her summer in her new town, she starts to understand that changing the past could change good things as well.
Strengths: Haddix certainly has a firm grasp of the magical realism/creepy supernatural niche, and crafts an interesting story about changing the past. My favorite part, however, was the strong family unit. They are shown dealing with ordinary problems like a sleepless infant, death of a friend, and job insecurity with strength and good humor. Just the topic of a tween having a baby sibling is a great, and underserved, one. I also liked the inclusion of going to church and Vacation Bible School. Although I figured out early on that church wasn't a good fit for me, I spent a LOT of time in middle school and high school attending church functions, and this also is underrepresented in middle grade literature. This seems like it will be a stand alone.
Weaknesses: This would have been more effective as a realistic fiction story without the "remarkables". Their appearance is never well explained, and didn't make much sense.
What I really think: I will purchase because Haddix is a local author and circulates well, but this wasn't my favorite. Part of that might be because I started reading thinking this was the sequel to The Strangers (Greystone Secrets #1), and it clearly wasn't!

What I read last night, because a Follett order came in. They were okay; liked Mac B. and Scout best, and found The Baby-Sitters Club and Dog Man disturbing for a variety of reasons that no one else will worry about:

Didn't buy these two; checked them out from public library, but they weren't what I wanted.

Slacks for the first time this year, with my Head Mistress of Private School jacket and a black shell I bought in 1991. It has shoulder pads. I love it, and it's one of the few articles of professional clothing I have that predates my children!

No comments:

Post a Comment