The Last Great Adventure of the PB & J Society

256p. Capstone. Apr. 2016. Tr $12.95. ISBN 9781623706364.
Gr 4–6—Grade school best friends and neighbors Annie and Jason are as compatible as the ingredients of their favorite sandwich: peanut butter and jelly. When Jason learns that he'll have to move to California because his parents' house is undergoing foreclosure, Annie starts concocting unrealistic plans, such as selling her appendix to save his house. Then cranky elderly neighbor Mrs. Schuster bequeaths Annie and Jason something even better: a map that will lead them to treasure buried in the neighborhood. As Annie tries to find the treasure to help Jason, she inadvertently causes him several problems, including destroying the garden his family was relying on for food. At its surface, this is the story of two kids trying to distract themselves with a treasure hunt as serious life circumstances threaten to separate them. However, it's also about Annie's struggle to adapt to change, her ability to figure out realistic solutions to problems, and her realization that even Mrs. Schuster needs companionship. The plot and the character arcs are realistic and fully realized. Readers will get caught up in Annie's funny, desperate quest to save Jason's house but will also relate to the disappointment she feels when she messes up. This is an insightful depiction of two kids wanting what is best for their friendship in a post-recession economy.
VERDICT A general purchase for most middle grade collections, especially in communities that are still feeling ripple effects from the 2008 recession.

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