cover image The Strangers: Greystone Secrets #1

The Strangers: Greystone Secrets #1

Margaret Peterson Haddix. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-283837-7

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. [em](Apr.) [/em]