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5.0 out of 5 starsSo hard to put down!
Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2017
I absolutely loved this book. I read it to my 6-year old, and as I wrote in my blog this week, "It's possible I should have saved One Mixed-Up Night until Wyatt was older, but I doubt it. I can guarantee he will read it again because on at least six separate occasions, he laughed so hard he fell off the sofa and breathlessly declared, 'THIS is the FUNNIEST book I have EVER read. I am SO GLAD YOU GOT IT, MOM.' I am also glad I got it. It's funny, heartwarming, sad, and somehow, as only Catherine Newman can, entirely irreverent and yet totally respectful at the same time. Wyatt's totally on to me, too. He knows when he can wheedle another chapter (or three, or seven) out of me. I have no discipline when it comes to chapter books like this one. As I confessed to him, it was all I could do not to sneak into his room after he was asleep and gobble it up on my own, without him. He gave me the side-eye. 'But you DIDN'T do that, right?' I didn't. It took all my willpower, but I didn't."
2.0 out of 5 starsI feel so bad giving this book a poor review as I have ...
Reviewed in the United States on April 15, 2018
I feel so bad giving this book a poor review as I have loved Catherine Newman’s writing for many years, beginning with her magazine columns and then her books about raising Ben and Birdy. She is insightful and funny and has a knack for the tug-at-your-heartstrings bittersweet. So I was very excited to see this book advertised. The premise seemed very cute, two best friends dreaming of spending the night, unsupervised after hours, at their very favorite store, IKEA. The book started off well with the reader getting to know the two main characters, Frankie (Francesca) and Walter, the appeal of IKEA for them, and their dream of spending a night alone in the store. But when the kids actually pull it off and are in the store after the lights are out, it all fell apart for me. The kids are obviously smart, kind and thoughtful, and Walter is described as somewhat nerdy. Yet, during the night, they (**spoiler alert**) become hooligans. The wreak quite a bit of havoc in the store including creating a small flood, damaging walls with falling furniture, etc. The night culminates in them starting a fire. Their behavior and negligible concern did not at all seem to be in keeping with their characters and actually struck me as ridiculous (even with Walter’s back story). And the security guard’s delayed and measured response was simply unbelievable. Overall, I’m sad that this book fell flat for me. I so wanted to love it. I do hope the author attempts another book.
Reviewed in the United States on September 20, 2017
Catherine Newman has a gift for crafting stories in which the line between narrator and reader is delightfully blurred. She transports us not to magical places (although some of the IKEA showrooms could be described as such!), but to places in which we discover things about ourselves right along with her characters. We feel ALL the feels, and it's heartbreaking and wonderful. Catherine captures childhood and friendship so well in this story. It was a joy to read aloud to my kids every night, and it's a book we will likely revisit many times. She drew us in, left the kids begging for just one more chapter, and brought this mom to happy tears more than once. Newman is a writer I love to follow for her honest musings on motherhood, cooking, politics and pinatas. I'm just so happy to be able to share her stories with my kids as well.
Like the author and the protagonists, I loved From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, but you don't need to have loved, or even read, that book to appreciate One Mixed-Up Night. It is by turns funny, heartwarming, and a little bit heartbreaking. Catherine Newman writes with great humor and warmth and a wonderfully deep understanding of preadolescence. I am not a middle-grade reader but a middle-aged one, yet I found this story of adventure and friendship so compelling and entertaining that I read it in one sitting. It would be a great read-aloud book for children as young as 6 or 7, and a lovely read-alone book for children from 8 to 12 or even 13 (or in my case, 48!). In fact, my 14-year-old, intrigued by the idea of an unauthorized sleepover at Ikea, has put it on his reading list for fall. I'm sure he'll love it as much as I did.
4.0 out of 5 starsA sweet story with a simple message...a good read for Tweens
Reviewed in the United States on January 20, 2018
My sister and I are IKEA FREAKS (as I'm sure many adults are), so when I learned of Catherine Newman's book about two middle-school aged friends devising a plan to spend an overnight in an Ikea store, I had to buy each of us a copy...because I think we secretly would love to do JUST THAT, even at our age! It's a fun story. I found the writing to be a little hard to follow at first, because the author has written from the perspective of 12-year-olds, and the way in which they think and speak; since I'm over 40 (way over), it took me a while to fall into the rhythm of those speech and thought patterns. I guess the one thing that for ME seemed a bit far-fetched (perhaps I just don't know enough kids that age), is how enamored these two were with Ikea...they're 12...they don't own a house...what is their motivation for swooning over the catalog and having "wanties" for all the couches and furniture and lamps if they don't have a need for these things yet in life? I guess kids like this are somewhere...I just have never met them. BUT it was still a fun read, and had a simple, sweet message in the end.
I ordered this book for my eleven-yr-old, because I still love to read aloud to him at bedtime, and this looked like fun for both of us. A few chapters in, he asked if I would mind if he brought it to school for read-to-self time. I put on a bright smile and said no, I didn't mind at all. And then he finished it at school without me! So I had to start it again with my 8-yr-old, who got so hooked on it that one evening when I was out, she asked her dad to read several chapters to her. What?! After my daughter and I finished it, I found her dad reading it all by himself on the couch. He said he wanted to know how it ended. So there you go - appropriate for ages 8 to 43. We all loved it.