Yours Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick
Release date: January 31, 2017
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for review consideration.
Summary: Even Truly Lovejoy has to admit that teeny-tiny Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, has its charms—like the annual maple festival, where tourists flock from all over to sample the local maple syrup, maple candy, maple coffee, and even maple soap! But when someone tries to sabotage the maple trees on her friend Franklin’s family farm, Truly has to rally the Pumpkin Falls Private Eyes to investigate.
Meanwhile, she uncovers another, more personal mystery under the floorboards of her very own home—a diary written centuries ago by her namesake, the original Truly Lovejoy…and it might just prove her family’s ties to Pumpkin Falls run deeper than anyone ever could have imagined.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: This is the type of middle grade I would've loved when I was 10 to 13. It's fun and lighthearted, yet still delivers on some good themes. Yours Truly picks up not long after Absolutely Truly and takes place over the course of a week. Truly's cousin Mackenzie has come for a visit, and she's eager to join the Pumpkin Falls Private Eyes.
I loved how family was so important to Truly. Even if she is annoyed by her younger sister and doesn't always want to do chores, she's concerned about her dad and she grudgingly does things with her mom and she doesn't think her older brothers are too annoying. In contrast, her friend group didn't feel quite as fleshed out. There's four boys and two other girls, and I had trouble remembering most of them from Absolutely Truly and I didn't feel any of them got extra characterization in this book. Finally, character-wise, there seemed to be a bit more coupling up/matchmaking in this book - not just with the young characters but also the adults (Aunt True and her guy, Belinda has a prospective suitor, Lucas's mom...). It was interesting to have such a focus on romance...without romance really mattering to the plot.
Speaking of plot, there's two mysteries the PFPE are trying to solve: who's tampering with the maple tree tapping and the original Truly Lovejoy's diary. I solved the first mystery fairly quickly, but the second had some fun secrets and really pulled in history. I didn't like the original Truly's diary entries, just because they sounded kind of fake. But they definitely introduced a lot of plot, and I'm sure middle grade readers would have a harder time puzzling things out than I did.
Yours Truly was super clean, just like Absolutely Truly. While Truly definitely worries more about boys, the most that happens is she gets an unexpected kiss.
The Verdict: Such a fun middle grade series! If you haven't read Absolutely Truly yet, get your hands on a copy and then give Yours Truly a try.
P.S. There's another Mother-Daughter Book Club character cameo from a more recognizable secondary character who makes a big appearance in Home for the Holidays.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Probably.