SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE OF MAYBE, by Jo Watson Hackl, Random House

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A Mississippi ghost town and an art mystery combine in this gorgeously written debut just right for fans of Three Times Lucky and A Snicker of Magic!

How far would you go to find something that might not even exist?

All her life, Cricket’s mama has told her stories about a secret room painted by a mysterious artist. Now Mama’s run off, and Cricket thinks the room might be the answer to getting her to come back. If it exists. And if she can find it.

Cricket’s only clue is a coin from a grown-over ghost town in the woods. So with her daddy’s old guidebook and a coat full of snacks stolen from the Cash ‘n’ Carry, Cricket runs away to find the room. Surviving in the woods isn’t easy. While Cricket camps out in an old tree house and looks for clues, she meets the last resident of the ghost town, encounters a poetry-loving dog (who just might hold a key to part of the puzzle), and discovers that sometimes you have to get a little lost . . . to really find your way.

“A tale of adventure, full of mystery.” –Robert Beatty, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Serafina and the Black Cloak

Published: July 2018


I was sent this book in exchange for my honest review.

A beautifully written middle-grade read.  The main character, Cricket, is a lovable, head-strong girl who has been abandoned often by those she loves.  She then embarks on a quest, meets new people and makes new friends along the way to finding her mother.

This is a character driven story, a self-discovery and coming of age book. It is a vibrant book depicted in the deep south with beautifully created settings and compelling conflicts that Cricket must resolve and while doing this, she continues to hope finding her mother.

I was invested in this story from beginning to end.  There were times I lost interest or couldn’t fathom what I was reading, and I didn’t truly love the ending, but overall, it was a good book.

I gave this book:




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