Wednesday, July 06, 2022

A Perfect Mistake

Conklin, Melanie. A Perfect Mistake
July 12th 2022 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Max has been struggling in fifth grade. Between being very tall and dealing with his ADHD, he was glad to work with a therapist over the summer to develop coping strategies to help him be able to concentrate so that he can be more successful in school. Unfortunately, right before school starts, his friend Will is in a medically induced coma after he, Will, and their friend Joey went to an abandoned round house in the woods with Joey's brother Jared. Max got scared and ran home, leaving his friends behind, but Will ended up in the yard of a neighbor who had a lot of dogs. The police are asking lots of questions, but not coming up with all of the answers. Max is also dealing with his uncle Cal, who has shown up in his beat up van. Max's mother doesn't seem thrilled to see her brother, but agrees to let him stay for a while he earns some money. Max's father, who is struggling to find employment as well, arranges for him to do some cabinetry work at the local bakery, owned by the father of one of Max's classmates, Sam Bovella. He's never hung out with he before, but she is interested in what happened to Will, and he finds it easier to talk to her than to anyone else. Jared is weird, his mom cries a lot, and while it's good to talk to his therapist, she's not around every day. Sam and Max investigate what happened, and come to some startling conclusions. 

Strengths: For me, the big draw of this one was the depiction of Max's struggles with ADHD and being really tall. Middle school has such a wide range of sizes, but outliers do often feel very alone. There are a lot of students struggling with ADHD, but there are few depictions in the literature, especially ones that are as positive as Max's. I love that he has strategies, and that 504 plans are mentioned, and it makes sense that these strategies are interrupted by the problems with his friend. I loved his language arts teacher, and appreciate that Conklin is POSITIVE about her cat shaped buttons; all too often, "teacher dress" is derided. The best part of the book was Cal, with his van and his alternative lifestyle, and his own possible undiagnosed ADHD. 
Weaknesses: The cover is okay, but the title doesn't seem to have much to do with the story. 
What I really think: This isn't one that will fly off the shelf, but will be very successful with the right readers. It's much more interesting and upbeat than this author's other titles, Counting Thyme and Every Missing Piece.
 Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. Nice review! Sounds like an interesting story. Added to TBR on goodreads!