102 Days of Lying About ­Lauren

Holiday House. Jun. 2023. 224p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823453627.
Gr 3-7–When she’s abandoned by her mother at an amusement park, 12-year-old Mouse (also known as Lauren) spends her days pretending to be a park employee, hanging out with her friend Tanner, trying to blend in, and desperately avoiding thinking about her mother. For 102 days, it’s been working: she sleeps undetected on the fourth floor of the Haunted House of Horrors, eats the cinnamon raisin bagels left out for breakfast for the park’s “ghost,” and follows five carefully constructed rules (the most important one is “Pretend to know more than you do”). But when she is spotted by someone who knows her real name and isn’t easy to avoid, Mouse can’t help but panic. This coincides with a dangerous storm at the park that leaves Tanner injured, and Mouse has to decide between outing herself or helping her friend. A lively voice and ingenuity carry this exciting story that is filled with humor and heart. Mouse discovers that people aren’t always what they seem and that sometimes, breaking the rules is the best way to move forward.
VERDICT Memorable, original, and engaging. Recommended for all libraries.

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