I hazily woke up from a night of dreaming, faintly aware of a soft buzzing. It grew louder and I could just make out the scent of fresh cut grass. Ah, summer, I thought. Early morning lawn-mowing always marks the start of summer. Later that day as I sat outside, there was a clunk, clunk and then a steady whir. Ah, summer, I thought. Midday air conditioning always marks the start of summer.
Hearing those sounds made my adrenaline start to rush, and I got that feeling like my heart wanted to leap out of my chest and fly. A million memories flooded into me of endless summer days beneath the warm sun. Swimming at the lake, swinging at the playground, volleyball, beach days with my toes in the sand, wandering through the farmer’s market, playing tag with water-guns, reading books outside the library while shoving grapes in my mouth. And in that moment it was all I could do to not jump into a time machine and go back to those summers where all the worry in my world was if I could find my other flip-flop.
“What’s the next best thing to a time machine?”, I thought. Didn’t someone once say “every book is a time machine”? The moment I asked myself that, a story came in to my brain with the swirl of a world built by words. I thought of a kid jumping into their friend’s bedroom one early summer morning and tapping their shoulder to wake them up. I thought of this friend leaping awake to throw on some shorts and join her friend on an adventure lit by the sun’s gleaming face. I thought of a cafe bustling with laughing and chatting, sipping on iced tea and lemonade. A thrown-together family running the cafe, garnishing their plates with never-ending wit and charm. Three Times Lucky. It was a book I had read years ago that a librarian had recommended to me during one summer holiday. I had loved it. A story about a pair of best friends solving crimes in a quirky small town. Who wouldn’t love it?
I looked this book up, thinking that maybe I could read it again, and to my surprise, this was a series! Mo and Dale Mysteries. The third book in the series said it was great even as a stand-alone, and so I found myself reading The Odds of Getting Even.
It was great! Sure, sometimes the dialogue seemed a little pushed, and so I felt like shaking the author and telling them to listen to people talk. I’ve noticed this tends to happen in middle-grade fiction novels. But, other than that, it was awesome. The plot was not too predictable. The characters were well-layered. I was impressed with the depth of the inter-personal relationships. The first-person POV was well written. And it was hilarious. It was a perfect cozy summer read.
Mo, the main character made me laugh so hard so many times. Her witty comments were so clever and sometimes her comments were so blunt, I couldn’t help but highlight them.
She often says things like “As for Lavender, he can’t make it due to the fact that he’s not coming.” Or this one is great, “My temper’s a work-in-progress. So far it’s all work and no progress.”
And then there was the times that something would be so profound that I thought, “I’ve got to write that down”.
Like when the Colonel, Mo’s adoptive father said, “A lost heart is a very hard thing to find.” Or when Mo narrated, “Grandmother Miss Lacy strolled over to put her teakettle on. It’s the small things, she says, that keep us civilized.” Also in the last chapter, when Dale, Mo’s best friend, said “If you don’t stand up for the glimmer of good left in somebody, how will it ever be more?”.
All around, The Odds of Getting Even is a great story and sooner or later I’m going to be reading the next in the series that I was pleasantly surprised to find out existed. I’m excited to dive back into the quirky town of Tupelo Landing and jump on the handlebars of Mo and Dale’s bikes, watching the next case get solved. This series is especially good for 11-14 year olds. Or for those of us who feel like jumping into the time machine that takes us to the summers of being kids.
Let me know…
- Do you ever read books to take you down memory lane?
- What books do you read to take you back in time?