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Review: Trouble at the Tangerine by Gillian McDunn

Trouble at the Tangerine by Gillian McDunn

Trouble at the Tangerine
Gillian McDunn
Published April 2, 2024

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About Trouble at the Tangerine

Award-winning author Gillian McDunn pens a delightfully quirky mystery that examines the meaning of home, perfect for fans of The Vanderbeekers series.

Simon’s family is always on the move. Every few months, they load up their van, “Vincent Van Go,” and set off for a new adventure. According to his dad, you can’t live an extraordinary life by staying in one place. But all Simon wants is to settle down, so he’s hatched a to make their latest apartment in the Tangerine Pines building his forever home.

When a priceless necklace is stolen, clues indicate the thief might actually be another neighbor. Simon worries he’ll have to move again if the thief isn’t caught. He usually doesn’t go looking for trouble, but if retrieving the necklace means establishing home, Simon is willing to risk it. With the help of his neighbor Amaya, pet-sitter, plant-waterer, and podcaster extraordinaire, Simon is determined to crack the case and finally put down roots.

My Review

I’ve read all the books Gillian McDunn has published so far, so I knew when I saw this one, that I had to read it. Her books are so great!

This one is a little different than the others. Maybe the one it’s most like is HONESTLY ELLIOT. I think TROUBLE AT THE TANGERINE reads a little bit younger than her other books, but I’m second-guessing that now. I’m not sure. That was my sense as I read the book, but I could be wrong.

TROUBLE also follows a mystery, which is something a little different. It’s also a story about making friends and being the new kid, so maybe it’s really half mystery, half new kid making friends. I liked the balance between those two things, and it made the mystery seem less intense, which I think is good.

I thought the story definitely had some very lighthearted, very upbeat Rear Window vibes. It’s not scary or tense at all like that movie, but it’s about a kid in an apartment building with a broken leg in the summer solving a mystery and observing his neighbors. So, there are a few similarities. (There are no hatboxes or scary things buried outside, though.)

On the whole, I think this will be a really fun summer read. It’s a perfect vacation or beach book or great for reading on a lazy, hot day.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.


Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content

Violent Content

Drug Content

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Marvelous Middle-Grade Mondays

I’m sharing this post as a part of a weekly round-up of middle-grade posts called Marvelous Middle-Grade Mondays. Check out other blogs posting about middle-grade books today on Marvelous Middle-Grade Mondays at Always in the Middle with Greg Pattridge.