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The Mutual Admiration Society

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  3,741 ratings  ·  425 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of Whistling in the Dark comes an unforgettable novel that illuminates the sweet and brittle bonds of family, the tenderness of growing up, the heartbreak of longing for what we’ve lost, and the poignancy of finding love.

FACT: Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Theresa “Tessie” Finley, she’s in over her head.

PROOF: After hearing a scr
Kindle Edition, 284 pages
Published February 1st 2017 by Lake Union Publishing
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Lesley Kagen Dear Shelli, No, it's not part of a series, it's a stand-alone novel. The sisters are just the main characters in The Undertaking of Tess and The Resu…moreDear Shelli, No, it's not part of a series, it's a stand-alone novel. The sisters are just the main characters in The Undertaking of Tess and The Resurrection of Tess Blessing. Different slices of their lives with a teensy bit of overlap occasional to add to the fun. Thanks for asking!(less)

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Average rating 3.19  · 
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 ·  3,741 ratings  ·  425 reviews

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Lesley Kagen
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Hey all!

Yup, this is my book and I gave it five stars because I'd have to be kind of a dope to work on a story for year and a half if I wasn't in love with it, right? There'll be a giveaway here at Goodreads as we draw closer to the release date, so be sure to visit often. Wishing you all the happiest of holidays! Hugs, Lesley.

Feb 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
You know when you are sitting in a car with a child that won't stop talking? At first it is cute, but after about 5 minutes you are running stop lights to get her home sooner and out of your car? That's what happened to me in this book, at first the perspective and voice was cute and I thought "Yippee another Flavia De Luce in the making" WRONG. This child is not as charming or clever, but tries to be, tries much too hard. I think it was over-reaching. Honestly, I could only read 3/4 of the book ...more
Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it
When I saw this book by Lesley Kagen on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance to read it! I read her book, "Whistling in the dark" (which I just loved) and the sequel, "Good Graces" which was very good too. I love the nostalgia of stories set in the 1950's/60's. Add two elementary sisters running around a neighbourhood trying to solve a so-called "murder" and causing a bit of mayhem and I'm hooked!

The author does a good job with her research and I enjoyed Tess' cute 50's "talk." This book just didn'
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, mysteries, adventure
Since Catholicism forms a subtext of this story, I feel it's appropriate to begin this review with a confession. I did not finish this book. Nay, I committed an even worse sin. I read about halfway through and then...skipped to the ending. Here's why. My opinion on this book vacillated wildly between being utterly charmed and thinking, "Enough already!" The main character Tessie is precocious, feisty, wisecracking, witty, and a very loving big sister to Birdie, who also possesses loads of charac ...more
This was such good fun to listen to. Tessie is a fun, adorable and quirky young girl. She had me smiling throughout this story. Although somewhat emotional in places, this is an overall funny feel good story, and definitely one I'd recommend if you enjoy a cosy mystery with a pair of entertaining sisters to keep you amused.

I borrowed this in audiobook format through Kindle Unlimited.
Barbara White
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
THE MUTUAL ADMIRATION SOCIETY is a unique coming-of-age story filled with sister-promises, ‘sure signs of loony’, and amateur sleuthing. And the characters stole my heart from page one. Tess, Bird, and Charlie, three kids who have navigated such tragedy in their short lives, are a triumvirate of quirky wonders. I loved them and their view of the adult world. Bravo, Ms. Kagen!
Heather Gudenkauf
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Lesley Kagan does it again! I loved The Mutual Admiration Society. Funny and heartwarming, this novel has it all.
Susan Peterson
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Mutual Admiration Society, featuring Tess Finley, is an adventure story, a mystery, a story about two very unique sisters, filled with laugh out loud moments intertwined with the hardships and challenges that Tess faces every day. Tess is a young girl trying to fill adult-sized shoes, beginning with taking care of her sister Birdie. She is a detective, a snoop, a blackmailer, an aspiring Miss America; but mostly she is smart and feisty, doing whatever she can to keep her family together. The ...more
Jennie Menke
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Kindle first book.

Always a bit leery of the kindle firsts. My experience is that they are rated higher than they should be because people do t expect as much from a book they don't have to pay for. Most of them I have hated. I didn't hate this book but I didn't love it either.

The narration, the voice of a young, imaginative girl, got to be a bit much. But it was original and consistent. The circumstances of her life are pretty tough but she seems pretty unsinkable.

I guess I didn't like all th
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Move over Flavia de Luce...there's a new kid in town! Theresa "Tessie" Finley is the President of the Mutual Admiration Society, an aspiring detective and blackmailing agency. She is also a little girl with an awful lot on her mind. Since the death of their father, caring for her "sweet, weird" sister, Birdie, requires a great deal of attention, as does keeping on the good side of their neglectful, emotionally distant mother.

After witnessing mysterious events in the local cemetery late one night
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When it comes to stories that explore the bonds between sisters, no one does them better than Lesley Kagen. I fell in love with Tessie and Birdie Finley in Kagen’s novella “The Undertaking of Tess” and I have loved them ever since. For those who remember the joys of a simpler yet richer childhood—a childhood where adventures began in the great outdoors and the discoveries of youthful sleuthing involved overactive imaginations, sneaking through a cemetery, and eavesdropping on adult conversations ...more
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Two little sisters are on the hunt for the (possible) murder of a nun in a cemetery.

Sounds cute doesn't it? Well, it did to me.

However, I found the girls spending more time running through the cemetery, hiding from the nosy neighbor, and eating.

Little girls usually aren't so dull.

They just didn't capture my heart.
Pam Jenoff
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All of Kagen's books are gems and her latest is particularly bright. I laughed and wiped away more than a few tears as eleven year old Tessie navigated adolescence, family loss and a murder mystery in her 1950s small town. Bravo!
Jill Anderson
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and the author for the opportunity to read an ARC of this entertaining book.

I've read several books by Lesley Kagen, and if you loved Whistling in the Dark and Good Graces, you will thoroughly enjoy this upcoming release of hers.

The story is told from preteen Tess Finley's POV. This spirited, witty, imaginative girl, and her side-kick, younger sister Birdie, take the reader on a possible-murder-mystery sleuth adventure. Her "gumshoe-detective" ways, and her "no
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
This is a fun book, but the main character's sides were distracting and made a short story into a novel. I would recommend this book for anyone who likes an easy read, as long as editing problems do not concern them.
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it
This one was jut a little too saccharine for me. The protagonist's precociousness was amusing, but it was just a little bit too much.
RoseMary Achey
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Tessie's narrative grated on my nerves-too much! What was cute in small doses became obnoxious.
The Mutual Admiration Society is a coming-of-age story of Theresa Marie "Tessie" Finley, an eleven-year-old girl who has to deal with:
** the loss of her father("Good Time Eddie" Finley);
** the neighborhood bullies;
** her mother (Louise Mary Fitzgerald Finley) who is weaving a wedding web to catch a man;
** taking care of her little sister, Robin Jean "Birdie"Finley;
** and her imagination which is running rampant in the direction of becoming a sleuth.

She has an on-again, off-again relationship
Mrs Mommy Booknerd
When I think Kagen cannot get any better, she goes off and writes another story that knocks my socks off. I feel I need to warn you that once you start reading you will keep reading and ignore everything and everyone around you!!! Be prepared to stay up well past your bedtimes.

Now onto the review... Kagen allows us the pleasure to hang out with the Finley sisters once again and that alone makes my heart smile. Then you add in her ability to capture child-like innocence, wisdom and curiosity wit
Bonnie Shimko
Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As an early reader, I'm thrilled to report that you're in for a treat. By turns laugh-out-loud funny and poignantly moving, the sister relationship in this novel is incredibly unique and brought more than a few tears. This might be Lesley's best yet. Brava!
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
This was a January Kindle First selection. This is the clever, charming and funny story of a day in the life of sisters, Tess and Robin "Birdie" Finley, who, together with Tess' little boyfriend, are The Mutual Admiration Society - amateur blackmailers and detectives. The Finley sisters' daddy has recently passed away. Their mother is only interested in finding a replacement husband and has no time for them. The girls would have a rather sad existence but for their special bond of sisterhood and ...more
Mar 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
This was a Kindle First book for me and I was really disappointed. It reminds me of when kids have all the free time of summer to investigate and play and so I thought a story about sisters trying to solve a potential kidnap/murder would be entertaining.

I was wrong.
The only entertaining are the responses the Magic 8 ball gave to Tessie's questions.

I am not sure if I read the same book as the others who gave it 5 stars. For me there was too much going on inside of Tessie's head to really keep tr
Jen Welch
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was my Kindle First pick for January. I was looking for a light, warm read. However, I had a very difficult time getting into this book. While I was interested in the time period, and some of the peripheral characters were well-drawn and interesting, overall this book didn't speak to me. I think I missed a lot of the humor, which just underscores that this book and I were a bad match.
Jane Richards
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fun Remembrance

This book brought back many memories of growing up in Wisconsin. Through Kagen's keen sense of humor and sensitivity, we take a loving and thoughtful step back to less tolerant times. I would recommend it to anyone.
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this! Reminded me so much of growing up Catholic in New Orleans!
Judy D Collins
Review to follow.
Feb 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Sometimes I don't know what I'm getting when I pick up a book someone else has left around. Such was the case with The Mutual Admiration Society, by Lesley Kagen, which I attempted to make into one of Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce mysteries. They each have a tween as a protagonist, both of whom are smart and plucky. They each solve mysteries.

That's about where the similarity ends. Tessie, Kagen's narrator, is a smart-talking girl whose beloved father recently drowned. She is attempting to prote
Lynda Kelly
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This was just terrific......I laughed (a lot) and cried (just once) although it is not short on some really touching moments. This is my first book by this author and it looks like Tessie's story continues in another one but it's hard to figure out which order you're supposed to read them in accordance with when they were written. Maybe she wrote a prequel long's annoying when authors do this or the publisher releases them out of order. Again, very aggravating.
At the beginning I wa
Christine Lowe
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tess and Birdie

This was my Kindle First Pick for January. I think this book for it's genre is very well written. Lesley Kagen writes great dialogue from a young girl's point of view. I didn't realize this was part of a series so I'm sure there were things that had more meaning if I had an opportunity to read the first book.

The story is told by Tess, an eleven year old girl, who is very busy making sure her sister Robin, AKA Birdie, doesn't get into trouble. Birdie was born two months premature
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book and it had so much potential, but in the end it just didn't deliver. It was sold as a book for adults but it reads like book for preteens, with slapstick situations and slangy, stilted conversations. I liked the characters, especially Tessie, who is a mixture of spunky Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird and cynical Harriet from Harriet the Spy. I wanted to know so much more about her and the other characters, but the plot just skimmed lightly over the surface without eve ...more
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52 weeks, 52 books: Week 2017.2: The Mutual Admiration Society 1 37 Jan 13, 2017 04:59AM  

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Lesley Kagen is a mother of two, a grandmother of two, an actress, narrator, speaker, essayist, and the award winning, New York Times bestselling author of ten novels, including her newest, EVERY NOW AND THEN, which will be released on Oct. 6th. She lives in a charming small town in Wisconsin in a hundred-fifty-year-old farm house with her dog, Gracie.

More about Lesley and reading guides can be f

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“PARTY POOPER I, Theresa Marie “Tessie” Finley, hereby confess that on the night of October 17th, 1959, instead of keeping my ears to the ground and my eyes peeled for suspicious goings-on in our neighborhood, the way I swore to do on the Holy Bible, I screwed up really bad. For cripessakes, any president of a blackmail and detecting society worth their salt would’ve at least poked their head outta their bedroom window at 12: 07 a.m. to see who was hollering their head off in the cemetery behind their house, “I’m warning you! Watch yourself! You’re treading on dangerous ground!” But what did I do? I acted like some dumb schmoe who doesn’t know the score. According to Chapter One in what has to be the best book ever written on the subject, Modern Detection, a private investigator is never supposed to “assume” they know something without having proof and they’re also never supposed to “let emotions cloud their judgment.” But the minute I heard that hollering over at Holy Cross, I’m ashamed to say, instead of really listening to the voice barging through our bedroom window so I could figure out who it was—I am an ace at that sort of thing—I right away “assumed” that it was Mr. Howard Howard, because every once in a while (mostly after he’s been hitting the schnapps bottle), he staggers over to the cemetery in the wee hours to collapse in a heap on his wife’s grave to bawl his eyes out and threaten God that He better give his Mrs. back ASAP or else. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I also let my emotions cloud my judgment, because Mr. Howard Howard and me, we have that in common. I could be an expert witness on sad” 0 likes
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