Review: A Perfect Mistake by Melanie Conklin

A Perfect Mistake

I received and advanced copy of A Perfect Mistake by Melanie Conklin (Little Brown and Company) which goes on sale today. These are my honest opinions on the book.

I get pitches to check out books all the time. I read things from kids picture books to YA fantasy and Graphic Novels and everything in between. I got the pitch for A Perfect Mistake and reading the quick synopsis of the book made me very interested in reading it. The book deals with family ties, ADHD, toxic masculinity, responsibility and friendship. It was one of those books that when I began reading it I wanted to read the entire thing right away to get to the resolution of the mystery within the book.

We have our main character, Max, he’s 11 years old but has the height and size of a kid in high school. So a lot of responsibility and unfair expectations get put upon him because of that. Max is also dealing with ADHD, he is seeing a therapist and this is helping him come up with strategies to manage his experiences. The book is based upon the experiences of the author’s husband and son and is one of the most honest and authentic portrayals of ADHD that I’ve ever read. It was fascinating how the author described how Max processes the world around him.

So you have Max and when the story begins we get bits and pieces of an incident that happened with Max and his two friends Will and Joey. Will is in a coma and we do not know exactly why. Max may know but he cannot piece together exactly what happened. He’s crushed by the guilt of not knowing and also of his involvement or even responsibility for what happened to Will. Meanwhile, his friend Joey is no longer talking to him and his once tight band of brothers is fractured.

Along the way we meet Max’s family, his perfectionist mom, perfect older sister and his dad who is dealing with unemployment but not giving up on his creations and ideas. We also meet Sam, a girl from Max’s class. Is she a friend or does she hate Max for some reason. Then there is Max’s uncle Cal. Uncle Cal is the free spirited younger brother of Max’s mom. He rumbles into town in the Supervan which brings along its own set of issues and possibly some answers.

I loved the authentic relationships between the family members complete with old wounds and new revelations. Max is a very interesting character that I think will be very relatable to so many kids. It is a very well done middle grade book that makes many serious issues easily accessible for kids. It is for ages 8-12 and it is one that I want my son to read this Summer.

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