The moral of this story is loyalty to friends trump social ethics. Kids are already highly impressionable and for a middle-grade book to impart this kind of message, well that doesn’t sit right with me. To make matters worse, the main character’s morals digress toward the end of the novel. For instance, in the middle of the book, AJ stands up to the ladies and her Grandma Jo letting them know that their actions are considered stealing. However, by the end of the book, AJ doesn’t tell the police the entire story. She covers up for the ladies and her Grandma Jo. And her Grandma Jo not only thanks her, but also tells her she is proud of AJ for not revealing the whole truth.
While the book is at times enjoyable and has a few laugh-out-loud scenes, at the end of the day, the type of message this book imparts is shocking. AJ’s character digression is jarring and distracts from the story. Grandma Jo’s character is flat and uninteresting. Overall, the novel could use a little more direction and character development or at the very least leave young readers with a good moral lesson.
Dive into the book:
When AJ’s parents leave for a month, AJ is forced to stay at her strict Grandma Jo’s house. One night, AJ discovers that Grandma Jo is part of a secret club with three other ladies who rotate turns on liberating things and animals they believe need a better home. AJ is invited to join as long as she does not tell anyone – including her best friend Maddie. Because of this secret, the friendship between the two girls grow tense. Maddie believes AJ is secretly hanging out with the popular girls and begins to feel left out. AJ is torn between telling her best friend the secret and keeping the promise she made to her Grandma Jo.
Goodreads rating: 4.5/5 (Note that there are only 3 reviews right now)
Pairs well with:
Nothing. Please do yourself a favor and do not read this book. Maybe care for a mini cactus or read a better book instead. I highly suggest A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd. I’ll have to do a review on that soon!