Monday, April 27, 2020

MMGM- Saltwater Secrets

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
and #IMWAYR day 

Callaghan, Cindy. Saltwater Secrets
April 28th 2020 by Aladdin
E ARC provided by Edelweiss

Half sisters Stella and Josie only see each other during the summer, since Stella lives in New Jersey with her mother and Josie lives in Australia with hers. During the summer, however, they stay with their father in an East Coast beach resort town. They have their traditions and secrets, like getting Water Ices and hanging out in their under-the-boardwalk hideaway. This summer, things have changed. Stella has gotten into some trouble with friends during the school year, and feels like she is a high schooler, while Josie is still a kid. Not only that, but their Water Ice shop has been turned into a smoothie store, which has affected their hideaway. Josie intends to boycott the smoothie shop, but Stella is trying to move on. We get the story of their summer in flashbacks-- both girls are being interviewed by the police after an incident that has sent someone to the hospital. For Stella, this is a "third strike", and her lawyer step father is on his way to deal with her. We get the mystery in tiny sections, and it all has to do with local eccentric Rodney, the smoothie store, a pop singer, and the deaths of jellyfish along the beach. How much trouble are Stella and Josie really in?
Strengths: The environmental mystery is well constructed and has a flavor of Monster meets Hoot. The seaside, summer setting is fun even with the darker overtones. There are colorful local characters and some good twists that I don't want to ruin. Of course, the real charm for me was the sisterly bond. I think a lot of tweens and teens want a sibling who is their friend, but with whom they don't have to deal with all the time.
Weaknesses: We are kept in the dark about what happened for most of the book, and I got oddly annoyed at this. It might have been the flashbacks. I'm not a fan.
What I really think: Callaghan's Lost In books are HUGELY popular in my library, so I will probably buy this for the readers who love those, although this has a decidedly different flavor. (Obviously, wattle berry...)

Ms. Yingling


  1. I've loved this cover since I saw it on Goodreads. Thanks for sharing more about the story and what you honestly think. The characters do sound intriguing! Flashbacks can be a bit hard to follow though. I'll have to look into this one!

  2. I'm not a big fan of flashbacks either but the story line is compelling enough to give this one a try. Thanks for featuring on MMGM and for all the enticing reviews you gave us this past week.

  3. This sounds like a really compelling story—books with multiple twists are always fun! Also, I like the environmental overtones! Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. This sounds interesting, especially with the friendship that scans cultures, the mystery, and the environmental issues. I'm not a fan of flashbacks either. This seems to be a trend right now in movies as well.

  5. What a perfect summer read -- or COVID read! Sounds like pure escape with a lot of action. I like the seaside setting. Flashbacks are hard to follow in books, but if the book is done well, it sounds like a fun mystery.

  6. There is a lot going on in this one, but it sounds so good. Thanks for telling me about it. I will try to check it out.

  7. Oh goodness, I get frustrated when I'm kept in the dark for most of a book. Sometimes it works well to get me guessing, but after a while it's downright annoying. But I like the other bits you've shared. Hoping we'll get this one, locally. Thanks so much for sharing, Karen!

  8. I do not know this author, so to hear that she is popular in your library, I'll have to dive into her books and learn more :)

    Happy reading!