The Misadventures of Family Fletcher: A Book Review

Hi!
The Misadventures of Family FletcherTitle: The Misadventures of Family Fletcher

Author: Dana Alison Levy

Published: July 22nd, 2014 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Pages: 272

Genre: Middle Grade / Contemporary

Source: Library / Hardcover

Series: Yes! Book Two is scheduled to come out in 2016.

Summary: Meet the Fletchers. Their year will be filled with new schools, old friends, a grouchy neighbor, hungry skunks, leaking ice rinks, school plays, wet cats, and scary tales told in the dark! There’s Sam, age twelve, who’s mostly interested in soccer, food, and his phone; Jax, age ten, who’s psyched for fourth grade and thinks the new neighbor stinks, and not just because of the skunk; Eli, age ten {but younger than Jax}, who’s thrilled to be starting this year at the Pinnacle School, where everyone’s the smart kid; and Frog {not his real name}, age six, who wants everyone in kindergarten to save a seat for his invisible cheetah. Also Dad and Papa. {Goodreads}

My Thoughts: As a kid, one of my favorite books was Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks. I loved escaping into the world of the four sisters, falling in love with all of the characters {and I’m totally due for a re-read}. I bring up my childhood favorite only because it seems we have a new and more modern counterpart: The Misadventures of Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy. Like the Penderwick sisters, the Fletchers have their share of family adventures and mishaps, all of which are captured in Levy’s middle grade debut. This book snuck up on me, but by the end, all I wanted was more of the Fletcher family!

The Fletcher’s are a mix of different personalities. From the eldest and athletic son, Sam, to imaginative young Frog {and his invisible friends!}, much of the appeal of this novel lies in how relatable its characters are. These aren’t kids with magical powers or missing parents; they are merely boys with a variety of interests and stories to tell. Furthermore, Levy meets the needs of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, without having that element of character development overwhelm the story. I admire that she mentions the boys’ backgrounds in several places throughout the book, but I was even more happy to see that they aren’t the sole details of their identities.

Just as Levy introduces a number of diverse characters, she also uses Papa and Dad to bring up the increasing popularity of same-sex marriage. This topic doesn’t take center stage, but rather, as the author herself writes over at Goodreads, shows that “families – everyday American families – come in all shapes and sizes.” I think that is an effort to be commended, especially since she did it so well. It’s not often that I come across a book where I want to hug each and every main character, and I have little doubt that you’ll feel the same when you finish.

The story is of the quiet sort. While there are many major plot points, there’s nothing that feels “high-action” or intense. Instead, readers are invited to follow along over the course of a year in the Fletcher home; this could quickly turn dull if not for Levy’s terrific writing. Some young readers may not stick around for the entire book {even I thought the plot dragged at some points}, but I suspect many will find enjoyment in the story. I, for one, read Misadventures over the course of a few weeks, supplementing it with a few young adult novels. A chapter here or there was enough to satisfy my daily Fletcher need! :) Finishing it in one afternoon could lead to a very different reading experience.

Overall, The Misadventures of Family Fletcher was a delight from start to finish. Lovable characters and a relatable plot are a winning combination with any book, but the story’s new take on the traditional family makes it stand out to potential readers. Levy’s writing career started off on a bang {just read any other review and you’ll see what I mean}, and I hope that her success will only continue. Book two, please?

Pros: The characters take the gold here. They are both developed and realistic – can you really ask for more?!

Cons: Although this didn’t happen often, the plot did feel slow at points.

Heads Up: Nothing to be concerned with!

Overall: I give it 4 1/2 stars {**** 1/2}, and I recommend it for ages 10 and up.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Bella

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5 thoughts on “The Misadventures of Family Fletcher: A Book Review

  1. […] dana alison levy: Dana Alison Levy is the brainchild behind the modern rendition of the Penderwicks, the Fletchers. Her charming book about a multicultural family of two dads and four sons won my heart last fall {it seems I can never seem to resist a good middle grade story}. Levy effortlessly weaves the innocence of childhood with the messy threads of family to create a pitch-perfect debut, and I expect nothing less of the sequel. {review} […]

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