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Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  735 ratings  ·  157 reviews
Annabelle has a secret . . . a secret so big she won't allow friends within five miles of her home. Her mom collects things. Their house is overflowing with stuff. It gives Annabelle's sister nightmares, her brother spends as much time as he can at friends' houses, and her dad buries himself in his work.

So when a stack of newspapers falls on Annabelle's sister, it sparks
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Scholastic Press
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  735 ratings  ·  157 reviews

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Such a light and fun read!! I picked it up since it is a 2018-19 Washington Battle of the Books books. I loved it 4.5 stars!!
Corabel Shofner
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: swanky-17s
I wasn't ready for this book. The title made me think it would be a slap-stick goof. Boy was I wrong. I realized by the end of the second chapter that this book, while humorous, was a dead-on study of a highly dysfunctional family that loves each other deeply. Annabelle's mother is a hoarder, which involves many of the same problems as other addictive behaviors. Hoarding can be as damaging as alcoholism or gambling and it affects the entire family, each in different ways.
And this is where Mar
Jen Petro-Roy
I loved this book! What a pitch-perfect middle grade voice. I so felt for Annabelle, dealing with her hoarder mother, avoidant father, friends, and a crush, while figuring out how or if to let people in.
Dee Dee G
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never thought I could fall in love with a book about hoarding.
All families have secrets, but seventh grader Annabelle Balog is particularly embarrassed by hers. Her mother is a hoarder, and the house is filled to the brim with her mother's collections, various items procured at yard sales and online, as well as towering stacks of newspapers that necessitate tricky navigation from spot to spot. So fearful is Annabelle of what others will say about the state of her house that she keeps most of her friends at arm's length, and hasn't let anyone visit for the ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: second-childhood
This is about as well done as a middle grade book on this very painful topic could be, and it had me turning the pages fast. Not something I'll feel drawn to reread, though.
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mary E. Lambert's first novel is a Dostoevskian romp through family dysfunction that will teach the young (and remind the old) that the trials of life inevitably leave little chips in your soul, but those chips don't prevent you from being whole. Unless you try to split your soul into seven pieces hidden away in places relevant to your personal history in an unlikely bid to achieve immortality. That will prevent you from being whole.

A highly recommended book for introspective readers of all age
Eve beinguniquebooks
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Annabel, Leslie and Chad live with their parents in a house full of stuff hoarded by their mum.

Drew and Rae, her best friend and crush, Annabel tries to hide her house situation from them, her dad leaves early for a trip and then their grandma shows up causing them to have a family game night suddenly to fake everything is ok despite their dad leaving despairing about his wife's obsession.

However as the kids especially the sisters try to clear out their house of their mum's hoarded mess, Annabel
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: claire-2017
This was a fun but intense read. It was well written and explored a family's issues and how all parts of the family impact the system. Light hearted yet serious. I'm recommending for my almost 10 year old and anyone who likes a good family story.
Jennifer Eckert
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic middle grade novel about hoarding; an issue rarely dealt with in children’s literature. This book is very well written and deals with the subject with empathy. You really feel the desperation of the kids in their attempts to deal with their mother’s behavior. And while the storyline isn’t wholly resolved, you’re left with a sense that it will be ok. The relationship between the two sisters is particularly sweet, and seeing the entire family pull together to overcome something those d ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: megan
This was just a random book Megan pulled off the shelf from the library, and we gave it a shot. I had no idea what it was about, but I actually loved it. I don't think everyone would give this 5 stars, but if you have ever personally dealt with a hoarder in your life, this was so potent and accurate. Also, the writing was so well done and made me laugh multiple times.

This is really more appropriate for a middle schooler to read since the main character is 13 or so and deals with some middle scho
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are so many things that kids find hard to talk about with anyone, including friends or family, and books/stories can be a way for them to relate, identify, and then hopefully, share. This book deals with a compulsive hoarder and her children and how the middle child, Annabelle deals with it. Her brother runs to work and friends and her sister has nightmares, but Annabelle trys to control her reactions and it slowly erodes her sense of safety and family.
An excellent book for late elementar
Jessica Rinker
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always appreciate a middle grade that wrangles with something deeper, and the author has a done a lovely job of portraying a fractured, but not destroyed, family with humor and everyday happenings like cute boys and best friends, exactly how life usually goes.
Carlie Corson
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
It was a good book, but it didn't blow my socks off. It was good and had a good story line, but the ending was a little weird.
Wendy MacKnight
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
I've been waiting for this book for so long! Last night I started to read it and couldn't put it down so read it in one fell swoop. The story of Annabelle, whose family has become completely dysfunctional thanks to her hoarding mother is at turns heartbreaking, heartwarming and most of all, utterly believable. I kept turning the pages, desperate to see what would happen next. The characters are completely believable and their flaws painfully rendered. This is a story I hadn't read before in MG a ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was very good
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well boy oh boy, I sure was unprepared for this one. The cover of the copy I have is blue with a bubbly, bold title and some illustrated items (a phone, game, teddy bear, etc.) randomly around the title. I truly guessed this was Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library but revolving around family games at home.

Little did I know this book is about a girl whose mom is a hoarder, and how their family and her friendships are affected by this. I literally could not put this down... her relationship with
Hoarding isn't a topic I see in children's fiction. This book covered it with sensitivity and understanding and best yet, it was a terrific story. The characters were realistic and believable and the emotional side of hoarding was addressed with respect. This book will help children understand that things are always what they seem. I will recommend it!
Ms. Yingling
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Annabelle's mother is a hoarder, and the house has gotten so bad that her father leaves early on an academic study trip early. Annabelle thinks that she and her siblings can handle things, but are very glad when Grandma Nora arrives. Nora is everything there mother is not-- energetic, organized, and stable. Nora tries to get the house cleaned up, but there are constant fights. Annabelle tries to get her younger sister, Leslie, to clean up her own room, sin
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Lambert, Mary E. Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes, 256 pages. Scholastic, FEB 2017. $17. Content: G (1 swear, 0 ‘f’).

It’s almost time for her father’s annual pilgrimage to teach in England, but after a huge family blow-up he takes off early. At first Annabelle thinks she can escape on vacation with her best friend, but she decides that she needs to stay, especially when she finds out that her younger sister has called their maternal grandmother. If living with her mother’s every growing
Stephanie Elliot
Annabelle's house is in a shambles but it's always been this way. But the morning the pile of newspapers fall on her younger sister is a wake-up call for her. Something needs to happen. And something happens. Her father leaves. Her grandmother arrives. Mayhem ensues. You'll love this genuine story about what it takes to keep a family together despite big problems. Annabelle is trying to keep it all together but can she? And can she handle a first crush at the same time, and managing her friendsh ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a great read - Annabelle was such a relatable character, and I liked how Lambert took care to show different coping skills for difficult life situations through her and her siblings. Annabelle's inner life is rich and well described, and she's astute - in particular at reading people, especially her friends. The last five or so pages were not realistic (a true hoarder would never keep one room pristine just to do so - they might do it as a shrine to someone or something), but overall it ...more
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely love this novel. Wonderful characterization and such a unique voice for the main character.
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pre-2020-read
This was one of the books I purchased for my kids home library. Honestly, I don't think that I even bothered to read the summary. It was part of the Scholastic warehouse sale and I picked it up because of the title, the cover looked fun and the price. Had I read the summary, I don't think I would have been sold on the story, but I think that we would have missed out.

Annabelle does not have what she would consider a normal family. Her mom has turn their home into a storage cavity for all sorts o
Jenny Ashby
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Annabelle is just starting summer break and it appears that a really cute boy likes her so her life should be great, right? It would be, if not for her mother's hoarding problem and her father completely ignoring the problem. Annabelle can remember life before her mother started "collecting" things but now there are empty, molding milk jugs in the pantry, six foot high stacks of newspapers in the kitchen, paint cans in her brother's bedroom, a mountain of broken doll parts in her sister's room, ...more
Valerie McEnroe
I don't know how to begin reviewing this amazing book about a hoarder mother and the affect it has on her perfectionist daughter, Annabelle. It's a book that will resonate with anyone who has ever had an embarrassing family secret. The energy required to keep the embarrassment hidden can take an emotional toll on kids like Annabelle. Her character is perfectly written. Every page is realistic to the core. Every conversation feels like Lambert witnessed this drama first hand. I will be recommendi ...more
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I sat down and finished this book in one sitting. That is nearly always the sign of a great book! Annabelle's mom is a hoarder, and things are starting to get quite messy and not just in their house. Annabelle's dad has left early for his work trip after a fight with her mom, Annabelle's sister is experiencing anxiety and nightmares, and Annabelle is doing her best to keep it together and to keep her home life a secret from her friends.

I loved that Annabelle was a very realistic twelve year old
Cynthia Daniels
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Though a little difficult to read, this book deals with a family of people who love each other deeply, but lives in the shame of the fact that the mother is a bonafide "hoarder"! Annabelle is so ashamed of her house and all that she declares she has a "five mile radius" that none of her friends are able to pass so that no one who knows her sees where she actually lives. When a stack of newspapers falls on little sister, Leslie, then the stuff hits the fan. There is shame, guilt, envy, nightmares ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a mother that collects many things and doesn’t want to get rid of any of it and she has two girls named Annabelle and Leslie. The book is set from Annabelles point of view and she doesn’t like all of the things her mother has because her mother started putting things in her room. When she turned 12 she threw all her mothers things out her window because she didn’t want any of it in her room. Whenever she goes to her friends house when she gets back she has to check everything ...more
This book was not what I expected. It was a little intense. It dug into serious family issues and really broke down something people really ignore about hoarding. It is not just a tv show, people are dealing with a serious illness that causes them to hold onto things.

The main character is trying to keep her family together who are all severely affected by her mothers actions. She is forced to grow up way to fast because the adults around her also have no idea how to deal with the situation in a
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Mary E. Lambert has an MFA in children's writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a middle school English teacher in Tempe, Arizona.

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