The Greystone kids thought they knew. Chess has always been the protector over his younger siblings, Emma loves math, and Finn does what Finn does best—acting silly and being adored. They’ve been a happy family, just the three of them and their mom.
But everything changes when reports of three kidnapped children—who share the same first and middle names, ages, and exact birth dates as the Greystone kids—reach the Greystone family. This bizarre coincidence makes them wonder: Who exactly are these strangers? Before Chess, Emma, and Finn can question their mom about it, she takes off on a mysterious work trip. But puzzling clues left behind lead to complex codes, hidden rooms, and a dangerous secret that will turn their world upside down.
I really like the premise of this book which hooked me right away — three children discovering that there were three other kids who went missing with the exact same names and birth dates. Count me in!
Chess, Finn and Emma were a delight to read about. They each had unique personalities — Finn, the “baby” of the family but desperate to help in his own way; Emma, the math whiz; and Chess, the older brother who tried to hold it all together when his mom wasn’t there. I loved that they each had a different and distinct voice which came through in this three-POV book.
The puzzles! I got to say, the puzzles in this book were ingenious and reminded me a bit of The Mysterious Benedict Society! Although I’m many times older than Chess, Finn and Emma, I admit that the puzzles in this book got me stumped hahaha…
The twist and the ending truly had me stunned. I didn’t see it coming!
This book also reminded me of A Series of Unfortunate Events (kids alone in the world, thrown into one big terrible situation that was outside of their control…) which was one of my favourite childhood book series!
Some aspects of the book, the ending especially, felt a bit on the serious and heavy side, but I think this was pulled off really well for middle grade.
This book REALLY had me hooked… until about the 1/3 way mark, then the pacing dragged a bit until close to the end. The story danced around revealing the big plot twist for the longest time, and at some points it felt like nothing was happening.
The ending was out of the blue… and to be honest, TOO out of the blue. I felt like it could be a bit more foreshadowed at the beginning of the story, if you know what I mean?
The Strangers was a fun book with lots of voice and a great mystery. If you are a fan of The Mysterious Benedict Society and A Series of Unfortunate Events, give this one a try!
Have you read this book? Do you think a plot twist could ever be too twisty?
Photo by Breno Assis on Unsplash
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