Rummanah Aasi
 If you have younger readers who are a fan of mysteries, be sure to steer them to Sheila Tunage's Newbery Honor book Three Times Lucky. This is the first book in the Tupelo Landing series and if the other books are just as good as the first we are in for a treat.

Description: Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel--a café owner with a forgotten past of his own--and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.

Review: Three Times Lucky is a thoroughly engaging and humorous book despite some of the tough issues that the author subtlety addresses. The star of the book is the quick-thinking, precocious, sassy, and incredibly lovable Mo LoBeau along with fabulous cast of secondary characters in this modern-day mystery set in a small North Carolina town. Mo has an unique childhood. As a baby, she was found washed ashore during a hurricane and has led a quiet life with the Colonel, a cafe owner with a hidden past, and Miss Lana, the fun and colorful cafe hostess. Mo has always been on the search for her real mother as dubs her "Upstream Mother" and writes messages to her mysterious mother in a bottle that she throws in the water in hopes for a response. Along with this ongoing mystery, this Southern idyllic town is turned upside down by a murder investigation. The twists and turns in the plot kept me on my tones and the humorous interactions between Mo and her quirky neighbors held my attention throughout the book. As I mentioned earlier, the book does skillfully touches on tough issues such as alcoholism, spousal and child abuse, and underage drinking at appropriate times in the story, which shed light on contemporary issues and makes this book unfortunately realistic. Despite these issues, however, the mood of the book stays light and makes the readers root enthusiastically for Mo in all of her adventurous endeavors while also eliciting empathy for the secondary characters as they endure and conquer challenging circumstances. The book ends with a resolution to the murder mystery as well as teaching Mo the meaning of family. I'm so glad we get to visit these characters again in the other books in the Tupelo Landing again and I look forward to reading them.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is discussion of serious topics such as domestic abuse, underage drinking, and alcoholism. Recommended for strong Grade 4 readers and up.

If you like this book try: Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, Holes by Louis Sachar
5 Responses
  1. Kindlemom Says:

    I definitely have a little girl that I think will like this! It sounds like so much fun. Wonderful review and thanks for putting this on my radar. I'm always on the hunt for MG reads!


  2. Thanks! I'm unfamiliar with this series but I think my middle schoolers will be interested. Great review. Always looking for good mysteries for younger kids.


  3. Oh I wouldn't have expected light with all the issues it tackles. I'm curious! Plus it sounds like it has a solid ending.


  4. Aylee Says:

    Ah, this one is new to me, but it definitely reminds me of some other books I enjoyed as a middle grader. I think I might actually like the touching on issues that make the story seem more realistic? I'm not sure though. I would have to read it for myself!


  5. I like the sound of this one for my younger cousin possibly. I know she likes mysteries and like that the author also incorporates some tough issues. Thanks, Rummanah.


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