Kapit, Sarah

The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family

(2) 4-6 Lara starts her own detective agency, whose cases involve a few pranks and a missing brooch, but she mostly ends up focusing on the mysteries about the people around her. One of those mysteries: why her younger sister Caroline, who's just joined her in middle school, doesn't seem to want her help and protection. The sisters, whose perspectives alternate in the third-person-limited narration, are both on the autism spectrum, and Caroline uses a speech device. Their difficulties in interpreting social cues play a natural role in the conflicts within their large family; classmates' reactions to Caroline form another conflict. Also naturally integrated is the family's "Ashkephardic" Jewish faith and practice, particularly--after pranks and detective work both go too far--in themes of atonement related to the High Holidays. A sensitive and frequently funny family and middle-school story with two distinctive, memorable heroines.


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