The Bailey family adjusts to life on a military post for the first time.
Mom is an intelligence officer, while Dad works as a graphic artist from home. The kids are excited about the new independence that life on a military post allows them. The post is pretty much open to the kids: a movie theater, the PX, the ice cream shop, the pool, and anywhere else where dependents are allowed. This freedom leads the kids to explore a mysterious, abandoned building, which is in a restricted area. While the mystery is exciting, containing just the right amount of tension and scary situations, it’s the relationship among the children that gives the story life. Eight-year-old Rosie, adopted from China at 3, might be cute to strangers, but her bossiness causes her to have trouble making friends. Charlotte, nearly 11, enjoys the cool girls, even if they are mean, while Tom, the oldest, struggles with dyslexia and is in the same grade as Charlotte; both are white and the biological children of Mom and Dad. Tom emits what his family calls the “screech of doom” when he is surprised, making him the target of a bully on the first day of school. There are some rather unlikely situations (obedient military kids entering a locked building at night? Rosie’s scream of “IED!!” in a PX??), but the overall story is exciting.
Nonmilitary kids should enjoy seeing the challenges and fun of living on base. A series, perhaps? (Fiction. 8-12)