Reviews for The Strangers

by Margaret Petersen Haddix

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

With this book, best-selling Haddix launches a new middle-grade series that blends adventure and sf elements into an engrossing mystery. Something strange is going on in the Greystone household. Chess (12), Emma (10), and Finn (8) come home from school one day to find their mother in despair over a news story about a bizarre kidnapping bizarre because the three children who were taken share the names, ages, and birthdays of the Greystone kids. Then Mrs. Greystone is called suddenly out of town, leaving her kids in the care of a stranger, with nothing but questions and a coded letter. Convinced their mother's in danger, the kids and Natalie (their new caretaker's daughter) set out to crack the code and save Mrs. Greystone. Third-person narratives switch among the Greystone kids, giving readers an intimate sense of their personalities and close sibling bond. The kidnapping alone could have made a compelling mystery, but Haddix throws in secret rooms, alternate realities, and a cliff-hanger ending to raise the stakes and delight fans new and old. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The buzz is high for this new series, which the publisher is betting will bring Haddix to a new generation of reader. --Julia Smith Copyright 2019 Booklist

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

When their mom goes missing, three siblings chase her to a parallel world to reunite their family in this first of a new series by Haddix (Children of Jubilee, 2018, etc.).Sixth-grader Chess Greystone and his younger siblings, Emma and Finn, discover their widowed mom in shock when they arrive home from school one day. A startling news broadcast has reported the kidnapping of three children who, against all odds, share their exact same first names, middle names, and birthdays. If that weren't unsettling enough, the next day their mom insists she must leave on a sudden business trip. The Greystone siblings realize something is horribly wrong when they find their mom's phone and laptops left behind at their house. With the help of new friend Natalie Mayhew, in whose mother's care they find themselves, they follow a trail of clues and secret codes to an alternate world that connects their mom's sudden disappearance to their missing doppelgngers. Maintaining suspense from the beginning to the cliffhanger ending, Haddix builds momentum with short chapters that shift among the three third-person perspectives of the Greystone children. Along with an exciting science-fiction mystery, the story touches on real-world topics such as divorce, grief, abusive relationships, government corruption, and transitioning from elementary to middle school. Apart from background characters, the cast is predominantly white, with the possible exception of Natalie, whose mother is cued Latinx.A high-stakes adventure full of teamwork with a multifaceted mystery and complex themes. (Science fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In Ohio, the Greystone kids-responsible Chess, math-savvy Emma, and excitable Finn-have established a pleasant life with their mother years after their father's death. Until, that is, the day they find their mother weeping and wan over a news story about three kidnapped Arizona children-children who have not only the same birth dates and unusual names as the siblings but also a mother who looks uncannily similar to their own. After their mom disappears on a "work trip" the very next day, the Greystones receive a cryptic farewell and a coded letter that makes them wonder if they're connected to the kidnapped children. It's up to all three to crack the code and search out answers using nothing but who they are and what they already know. In a satisfying third-person narrative that alternates between the children's experiences, Haddix (the Children of Exile series) portrays the complex anxieties and internal lives of close, caring family members grappling with a single set of extraordinary circumstances-separately and together. A secret-stacked, thrilling series opener about perception, personal memories, and the idiosyncrasies that form individual identities. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.