It’s been a while since I read a middle grade book and “Relatively Normal Secrets” sounded like something right around my corner. It has mystery and magic, children, a whole new world and a Gabriel Hound, that is a huge dog with magical abilities. What’s not to like about all that?
Tuesday and Zed and perfectly normal children! Their family not very much though! They don’t exactly know what their father does for a living, his job is not a discussion topic. Their mother never leaves their house without her gourd dog, Nyx. Also, they have no relatives, the children never met anyone, and the children were never able to create a family tree as there was information made available to them.
One day, their parents need to leave for a business trip. Tuesday and Zed check all their things trying to find something abnormal. Something that would explain all the secrets their parents keep, but they come emptyhanded. However, when their parents leave, they are more vulnerable than ever. Their snooping around is interrupted when some very bad and dangerous looking people suddenly appear at their house. They only manage to escape thanks to Nyx, who out of sudden appears to have magical abilities. Thankfully, they remember their family meeting spot, a huge tree. One moment, they are at the tree and the next moment they find themselves at a strange and peculiar place. Nyx has managed to get transported with them, so they see a familiar face. But they also see the face of a man they never saw before. He claims to know their parents and he tells them that they are in danger, and they cannot return home. To do that, they would need to have a special device that looks like a compass, like the one he is holding in his hands. They also learn they are no longer in the world they have lived all their lives. They are now at Fallinnheim, which is in another dimension and is a mixed of medieval and futuristic world. Soon, the man that saved them leaves them all alone, and it is up to Tuesday and Zed to find their way around, without any knowledge of this whole new world, without any money to get something to eat and without actually having any idea what to do. Their parents’ secrets seem to be in the way of their survival in Fallinnheim. But just as they start to lose faith, they find messages hidden nursery rhymes and they understand that someone is trying to help them, and they find hope again.
This story has everything a middle grader would appreciate. Relatable characters, children of the same age that go on an adventure, meeting interesting people, both dangerous and helpful. Tuesday and Zed are two amazing characters! It is always easy to understand whose voice is heard and it is not only because of the narrator, who has done a great job, but also because of the writing. I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook and I would recommend it to children or anyone else that likes reading middle grade books. There’s a lot of action, but none so graphical that would be inappropriate for children.
Thank you to NetGalley & Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC for an advance copy of this book. The views expressed are my personal and honest opinion.