Biggest Secret Ever!

S. & S./Simon Spotlight. (Middle School and Other Disasters: Bk. 3). Mar. 2024. 352p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781665948340.
Gr 3-7–In this latest entry of the “Middle School and Other Disasters” series about witch-in-training Heidi Heckelbeck, Heidi is excited to be chosen for private magic lessons with Mrs. Kettledrum, beginning with meditation techniques to help her master mind-reading. She has a blossoming crush on a non-magical student named Nick, and a new friend named Isabelle. Everything is going well until she discovers that Isabelle has a big secret: she is a princess from a magical royal family. Heidi promises Isabelle she won’t tell anyone, but she is bursting to share the big news, and accidentally reveals it to her gossipy roommate Melanie Maplethorpe. She tries to use an emergency spell on Melanie to make her forget Isabelle’s secret, but in the process makes Melanie forget who Heidi is! Luckily, Mrs. Kettledrum can read Heidi’s thoughts and helps her with a new emergency spell to undo her mistake without revealing Isabelle’s secret. This novel is full of relatable middle school experiences: crushes, secrets, navigating new and old friendships, and struggling to do the right thing. Although it assumes some knowledge of the previous books, new readers will still be able to understand and engage with the story. The variable font size and cartoon-style black-and-white drawings by Abramskaya add to the book’s readability and charm. Although the background of the characters is never explicitly stated, Heidi, and many of the other main characters, appear white in illustrations, while Isabelle and Nick have darker skin.
VERDICT A solid new addition for Heidi Hecklebeck fans that could also serve as an entry point for new readers.

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