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A Friendly Town That's Almost Always by the Ocean!
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A Friendly Town That's Almost Always by the Ocean!

(Secrets of Topsea)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  146 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Welcome to Topsea, the strangest place you'll ever visit. In this town, the coves are bottomless and the pier has no end in sight. There's a high tide and a low tide... and a vanishing tide. Dogs are a myth, but mermaids are totally real. And seaweed is the main ingredient in every meal-watch out, it might just start chewing you back!

New kid Davy definitely thinks Topsea i
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published April 17th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Pop Bop
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Practically Perfect Middle Grade Bizarro

It's very hard to find a good bizarro middle grade book. There are silly books, and wacky books, and nutsy books, and, or course, farty and poopy books, but good bizarro is rare. By "bizarro" I mean deadpan, tongue in cheek, low key, understated, unpredictable inside/out books. And that's what you get here.

And it's a singular and unapologetically odd book. The premise, though, is straightforward, which is the best way to set up a bizarro book. Davy and his
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-releases
This was absolutely adorable. Review coming tomorrow because I'm on the blog tour.
Nicole M. Hewitt
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

This book is extremely quirky. And all sorts of fun! It’s filled with crazy creatures and even crazier adventures. Don’t expect a terribly cohesive plot—the book is more about the setting (and the zany kids who live in Topsea). Even though Davy’s not too sure about his new town right away, kid readers are sure to love it. And they won’t find another story like this anywhere! I honestly don’t even know what else to say
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-in-series
This was simply one of the most charming books I've read in a while. At first it felt very absurd, but I realized something - it felt like how a kid might view the world.

It reminds me of stories my dad says I told as a kid, or stories my (7 year old) niece tells about her day or how some of the girls in her girl scout troop explain the world as they understand it.

It was also surprisingly touching, considering throughout Davy finds it hard to adjust to his new home, not just because it's so diff
Welcome to TopSea, beware the tides, the rubberduckies (especially those with rubbed-out eyes), and oh hey is that a seaweed on your shoulder that is winking at me?

I had the happy opportunity to participate in the Blog Tour for book 2, and that is what led to me wanting to read this series. So here I am, just finished book 1 and loving it to bits. It was weird, it was magical, it was confusing, it was fun. It reminded me, the writing style that is, a lot of Lemony Snicket's stories. It was just
Sharon Tyler
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Friendly Town That's Almost Always by the Ocean is a middle grade novel written by Kir Fox, M. Shelley Coats. It was illustrated by Rachel Sanson. In Topsea the coves are bottomless and the pier has no end in sight. There's a high tide and a low tide and a vanishing tide. Dogs are a myth, but mermaids are totally real. And seaweed is the main ingredient in every meal-watch out, it might just start chewing you back!

New kid Davy definitely thinks Topsea is strange. His mom keeps saying they'll g
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
If you know kids who are still a little too young for Night Vale, perhaps consider a visit to Topsea, instead. It's a town where you may find your locker at the bottom of the swimming pool. Where ice cream comes with surprises—some of them bees. Where the shady and sinister PTA is always trying to spoil your fun. Where the seaweed can be a bit aggressive. And where sometimes the gravity needs adjusting.

This first series entry is a fun, slightly surreal middle grade adventure for readers with an
Sarah Sammis
It's like Welcome to Nightvale but for middle graders.

Where Nigthvale has the weather, Topsea has the tide reports. Where Nightvale has the hooded figures, Topsea has the PTA. Nightvale has the Dog Park; Topsea has a Water Park. Beware of old oak doors in Nightvale, likewise basements and sub-basements in Topsea. I could go on and on with comparisons, but you get the idea.
Meredith Spidel
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a fun, creative tale for kiddos--nothing feeds young imaginations like an upside-down, topsy-turvy world! A delight to read and share with my children--we are loving our time in Topsea ;) Thanks for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This is a brilliant book.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is like "A Series of Unfortunate Events" meets "Welcome to Night Vale" for kids.
Shell Roush
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
Quirky middle grades book that reminds me a lot of Sideways Stories fe m Wayside School. It’s fun and would keep the interest of middle grade readers. It would make a great read aloud for the classroom. I was sent a copy of this book for review.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
It has been too long since I have read an interesting quirky middle-grade book just for fun! Full of interesting diverse characters, a magical world that kept getting better and better... and, a very smart and endearing watch-hog! (Have you ever heard of a watch-hog? Me either! And now I'm sure you'll want to find out what one is...)

Davy and his mom have moved to Topsea to start fresh, and Davy is doing his absolute best to adjust and fit in. However, Topsea is not like any place he's ever been
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
A BIG Thank You to Netgalley and Disney-Hyperion for providing me an advanced reader copy of “A Friendly Town That's Almost Always by the Ocean!" by Kir Fox, M. Shelley Coats in exchange for my honest review.

Am I the only one who had mixed feelings about this book? I am seeing quite a lot of five star reviews out there for “Secrets of Topsea”, and the only term that comes to my mind for summing up this book is “meh”.

Don’t get me wrong. I love reading strange, bizarre books, particularly directed
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this aloud to my 7 and 9 year old— great fun!!!

T says Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is a readalike.
Michele Jennifer
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: div2, netgalley
The Nitty-Gritty:
I absolutely love bizarre middle grade novels. Most of the time they do such a fantastic job of capturing the wild imagination of a ten-year old child. And A Friendly Town definitely checks off all of the bizarre boxes. There are several strange vignettes, and having Davy (Jones – yes, I see what you did there with his locker at the bottom of the pool) as the new kid in town the reader has a channel for their endless questions. We have several fascinating characters – a boy who
Janie G
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Topsea definitely is a friendly little town, the positive characters, relationships, and interactions are what make this book great. Everyone is genuinely helpful and kind, the narrative doesn’t rely on tense characterization, conflict, or competitiveness to drive character relationships. The narrative is focused on just how weird Topsea is, and it takes that weirdness completely seriously. Basements with basements (that one should probably never go in), lockers at the bottom of swimming pools, ...more
I kept getting frustrated with this book while I was reading it; that's why it's only 3 stars and not 4 stars. I thought that I would LOVE it, but I only liked it. I kept wanting resolution, and not getting it, and I felt like the authors were just being weird for the sake of trying to be weird and clever and show-off-y and not for the sake of forwarding the story.

*sigh* Now it sounds like I didn't like this at all, and that isn't the case. I would read the sequel, but with hesitation. I wouldn'
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
A very strange, yet still fairly entertaining read. There isn’t much of a plot, but instead a lot of jumping around to different characters and side stories. You learn a little about the town of Topsea but not enough in my opinion. It’s a little bit confusing (especially with the lack of plot) and while I understood some of the humor (Davy Jones with a locker at the bottom of the pool for example) I’m not sure middle grade readers would. I’m having a hard time thinking of any students at my scho ...more
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
A fun, imaginative read. This book is mix of a variety elements that make up a charming, yet very unique middle grade story. Like Davy and his classmates discover, the harder you try to figure out anything that's happening in Topsea, the harder it is to understand all that's going. That's the part of what makes this story so fun to read. The trick is to just go with the flow when reading this story. Trust us!

Kirsti Call
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This quirky book was a fun quick read. Filled with interesting characters and wacky circumstances, Topsea is the kind of book that will make you laugh and wonder. Davy, the main characters is pretty confused when he moves to this new town and his locker is at the bottom of the pool...but he has to "adjust." The story follows Davy's journey as he figures out the town and how to make friends. By the end he's figured out who he really is. At least we think he has. This book keeps you guessing until ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This quick book is a fun change of pace. When I picked it up, I wasn’t thinking topsy-turvy but it is every bit of that... in the veins of Sideways Stories or the fun Weird School series. These clever characters with unique attributes (like the love of questions) make the story super fun to read - you never know WHAT could happen next. Stars might fall out of ice cream, what is normal is abnormal, and what is abnormal is hilarious. Looking forward to book #2.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Davy is new to Topsea and is having some trouble fitting in. He is a normal kid in an odd town. But things aren't just odd and different --they are vaguely menacing at times. A slightly creepy, warm hearted story about a boy making friends and trying to figure things out. MG Friendship; Fantasy; School Story; Grief
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing

My Review: This was such a cute story that made us laugh so much. This is just one of those books that even kids that hate reading would find so funny and dive right in. I know we did! We read this together for three nights in a row and well most likely read it again tonight. Dont let this one pass you by!
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it
A little too goofy for me, but my daughters (8 & 11) loved it. They laughed out loud everytime someone called Davy by the wrong name. For me there was not enough of a plot, just one weird incident after another, and the shifting of the perspective from one character to another constantly was confusing. ...more
Samantha Ania
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. It's like if Sideways Stories from Wayside School met Welcome to Night Vale. It's funny and weird and creepy and heartwarming. I loved how the kids always triumphed and how friendships are portrayed.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Wayside-school type fantasy with a main character who is new to the quirky town and helps ease the reader into the world of strange tides, oddly behaved crabs, a tragic dog legend, and an abandoned arcade. It would make for a fun read-aloud, although the bits about the dead dad are a downer.
Tamara Penny
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sandy fun

A good middle school reader. It s a story about a kid that moves to a new town and finds friends immediately so it’s definitely fiction. Designed for wacky fluff with a hint of mystery .
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 3-6-fantasy
This book full of seaside mysteries, keeps one guessing until the end. Nothing is as it seems for newcomer Davy Jones in the mysterious town of Topsea. The friends he meets along the way keep his hope alive. The illustrations work beautifully with this somewhat wacky tale.
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
I rarely give up on a book, but this one seemed to lack much in the way of a plot. Things were just crazy to be crazy. There were some good lines in it like, "Davey Jones was concerned about the location of his locker."
Melinda Bender
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Davy moves with his mom to a new home and everything is so different. At school he is given a locker that’s located at the bottom of the pool and everywhere he goes he runs into rubber ducks with eyes rubbed off?! Very strange place this Topsea but it starts to feel like home.
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