Thursday, January 02, 2020

Middle-Grade Review: Remarkables

I always enjoy Margaret Peterson Haddix's middle-grade sci fi/mystery adventures, and her latest, Remarkables, is no exception. I listened to this fun, intriguing stand-alone novel on audio, and it was the perfect end to my 2019 audio books.

Marin's family has just moved to Pennsylvania for her mom's new job, but it's a lot of change all at once for her family. After all, her baby brother, Owen, was just born recently, they moved to a new house in a new state, and her dad is looking for a new job, while her mom adjusts to one with more responsibility. Marin is in no hurry to make new friends here, after a painful experience with her old friends just before she left. She is perfectly happy exploring the woods behind her new house on her own. In fact, she's up in a tree in those woods when she spots a group of teenagers. They seem to be best friends, a group of both girls and boys talking and laughing together, walking home from school, having snacks, and doing homework in the backyard behind Marin's own. But then, as she's watching them, the entire group disappears--poof! They are suddenly gone, leaving no trace. Marin is stunned and doesn't know what to think. She soon meets a boy her age in the neighborhood, named Charley, and discovers that he, too, has seen the mysterious group of teens disappear. Charley calls them the Remarkables, and though he is reluctant to get Marin involved, he finally shares his theories about who they are and what is going on. It all has to do with a tragedy that occurred twenty years ago, involving Charley's own father. Throughout that summer, Marin and Charley investigate the Remarkables, watching them from the woods and doing research at the library. In between, another tragedy gives Marin a chance to maybe patch things up with her old friend. Finally, just before the summer ends, Marin and Charley learn the truth of the Remarkables.

I always enjoy Haddix's middle-grade novels for their original, engrossing plots that move the story along at a fast pace. I couldn't wait to listen to more and easily finished this audio by December 31, my goal. That's not the only thing I liked about the novel, though. Haddix has also created realistic child characters with plenty of emotional depth. Though Charley and Marin are investigating a supernatural mystery, the novel is also filled with plenty of issues that real-life kids face, too: bullying, the ups and downs of friendships, addiction in parents, and even a death (not one of the main characters). All of these real-life problems are nestled naturally in the narrative among the kids' ongoing sleuthing, which often provides them with some much-needed distraction. The story comes to a surprising and satisfying conclusion, both in the mysterious world of the woods and in the kids' real lives.

304 pages, Katherine Tegen Books


Listen to a sampleof the audio book here and/or download it from Audible.

You can purchase Remarkables from an independent bookstore, either locally or online, here:
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit

Or you can order Remarkables from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.


  1. I've only read one Haddix book, but remembering enjoying it.

    1. Her novels are always a reliable, fun choice for me!