If I gave stars with my book reviews, Jo Watson Hackl’s Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe would get a whole constellation. It’s the best middle grade mystery I’ve read since I discovered Sheila Turnage’s Newbery Honor Book, Three Times Lucky.
Hackl’s character, Cricket, drags you along from the first paragraph:
“Turns out, it’s easier than you might think to sneak out of town smuggling a live cricket, three pocketfuls of jerky, and two bags of half-paid-for merchandise from Thelma’s Cash ‘n’ Carry grocery store.”
And there’s the humor:
“Even at a time like this, it’s important to keep moisturized.”
Head out the door of that Mississippi store with Cricket (the human) and Charlene (the cricket). On the journey your traveling companions will enlighten you about the nature of art, self-reliance, and loyalty, and how to live with and love someone who has a mental illness.
The setting is real. The characters are believable. And there’s a little history thrown in, to boot, about this neck of the Mississippi woods.
Love this book!!!