Sunday, April 09, 2023

Frozen Peaches

Downing, Erin Soderberg. Frozen Peaches (The Great Peach Experiment #3)
April 4th 2023 by Pixel+Ink
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

In the nine months since their mother's death, the Peach family has has a lot of adventures, including traveling around with a peach pie themed food truck in When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie, and turning their Aunt Lucinda's house into a Bed and Breakfast in The Peach Pit. Now, unbeknownst to his family, Freddie has been entering contests under his father's name and has won a year's supply of yogurt and a family trip to the famous Ice Hotel in Sweden! The contest was specifically for families who ran B and B's in cold climates, so the Peaches of Duluth, Minnesota were a good call, and they invite Aunt Lucinda to join them. They are joined by four other families, including the Proetzs of Montana, whose daughter Ellen immediately starts an atagonistic relationship with Lucy. The families will all participate in various events in a Frozen Olympics, and the winners will have the chachet of being the Frozen Best, as well as getting a small ice hotel constructed in their location the following winter! There are some glitches along the way, like Herb taking all of his underwear out of his suitcases and replacing them with Beanie Babies, but staying in the Ice Hotel is a fascinating, if very, very cold, experience. The contests are varied, from baking and decorating sleds to downhill races and a final dogsled competition. The Peaches enter everything with their usual gusto, but are saddened when their father, who has gone on a side trip to a research station that relates to the scientific work he does, has not come back in time. Luckily the owner, Phillip, takes their concerns seriously, and takes them out to the station, where they find that their father really does need their help. During the final competition, the Proetzs also need their help. This could mean that the Peaches lose the contest, but what is more important, winning or being good sports?
Strengths: I love that Downing based this book on her own experiences visiting the Ice Hotel years ago; I dont' even mind that she fictionalized a lot of the setting. I read this on a very snowy day, and it was a great virtual adventure-- I didn't even need to borrow a snow suit! I like that the kids all work together towards a common goal, even if they do have a few spats and misunderstandings. Aside from Ellen, all of the competitors were fairly nice. Aunt Lucinda coming along is a nice touch, and her wigs add just a tiny bit of quirkiness. I appreciate that the children occasionally have moments when they think of their mother, but that thei grief isn't pervasive; this is much truer to real life than many middle grade novels. Right now, I have several sixth grade boys racing through this series, so they will be glad to see this next installment. I hope we get to see them back in Duluth one more time! 
Weaknesses: I did find it a little hard to believe that there are that many contests out there for people to enter, but that being said, I had a friend who won tickets to some fancy golf tournament in England, so it could happen. 
What I really think: The Peaches have adventures that are a lot of fun, and they aren't as quirky as the Vanderbeekers are, so I enjoy them a lot more. Readers who like solid family adventure stories with a tiny hint of Enright's Melendy family to them will enjoy traveling with the Peaches.

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