JUST HARRIET by Elana K. Arnold

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I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.

Harriet’s dad promised that the new baby wouldn’t change anything. But the baby isn’t even born yet, and things have already changed. A lot. Harriet’s mom isn’t allowed to leave her bed for two whole months, and Harriet will be spending the summer after third grade far away from her parents at her grandmother’s bed and breakfast on an island. At first, Harriet is determined not to enjoy herself during her island summer. But when she finds an old key in the basement, she begins an investigation that will bring her closer to not only the eccentric island community but to the dad she left behind.

This sweet early middle grade story is bursting with personality and family love. A dash of mystery and a colorful cast of characters (plus cat and dog frenemies) keep the plot engaging as Harriet wrestles with her feelings of abandonment and disappointment over the unexpected changes in her family. Ultimately, Harriet will realize that no matter how many things change, the love of her parents is always a constant. I’d recommend this story to readers in grades 2-4 who enjoy contemporary fiction.

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