Fans of Katherine Applegate, Holly Goldberg Sloan, and Lynda Mullaly Hunt will love New York Times bestselling author Amber Smith's heartwarming middle grade debut about family, friendship, and the special connection between a girl and her dog.
Eleven-year-old Sadie's school year is off to an awful start. Her best (and only) friend moved away, her older brother is a jerk (as always), and her beloved Gramps is having more and more trouble keeping his memories straight. But when she comes across a stray dog, she discovers something wonderful and magical--she and the dog, Dewey, are able to communicate telepathically. Sadie knows that Dewey is destined to be her friend.
Dewey is quickly captured and sent to a shelter. And Sadie's moms say Dewey is dangerous, a bite risk, and that Sadie, whose mind is always wandering with a larger than life imagination, needs to prove she's more responsible before she can adopt any pets. But Sadie is running out of time--Dewey lets Sadie know that her days at the shelter are numbered.
The only solution: break Dewey out of doggie jail.
In this reaffirming, magical, and uplifting story of friendship, family, and believing in yourself, New York Times bestselling author Amber Smith assures the reader: it's okay to think big and act with your whole heart.
Amber Smith is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of the young adult novels The Way I Used to Be, The Last to Let Go, Something Like Gravity, and The Way I Am Now. Along with her middle grade debut, Code Name: Serendipity, she has also contributed to the award-winning YA anthology, Our Stories, Our Voices. An advocate for mental health, gendered violence, and LGBTQ+ equality, Amber writes in the hope that her books can help to foster change and spark dialogue. She grew up in Buffalo, New York, and now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her wife and their ever-growing family of rescued dogs and cats. You can find her online at AmberSmithAuthor.com.
Sadie’s life is changed when she meets lost dog Dewey in the woods behind her home. But this isn’t just any dog—This dog seems to be able to communicate telepathically with Sadie! There is so much to love about this story, which is full of unforgettable characters. Aside from Sadie herself, I especially loved Gramps, Macy, and Macy’s grandmother. Pick up this book for anyone who loves tender hearted stories about dogs, friendship, and family dynamics.
Code Name: Serendipity is a beautiful exploration of the challenges of growing up and the importance of friends and family. Blending a love of animals with an acute understanding of the challenges young people face, Amber Smith has produced a novel that is sweet and compassionate--the kind of content that not only provides solace to the reader, but deepens understanding and provokes thought. The characters are bursting with individuality and seemingly jump off the page. The story is multi-faceted yet easily followed. The book promotes diversity and animal welfare and can drive a strong message to youth looking for a read that is more than an experience, but a learning opportunity. Fantastic novel for middle graders, but also an impressive read for all ages. I definitely recommend this for your New Year reading list!
Smith's debut MG novel is a gentle and generous look at how change, even when it's uncomfortable or painful, can lead to good if we let it. With a sweet dog, a mischievous grandpa, and a new friend, our heroine learns to balance following the rules versus following her heart, and that honesty really is the best policy when it comes to the people we love. CODE NAME: SERENDIPITY is lovely - a five-(dog)star read for sure! <3
Amber Smith's books are a literary warm hug: You meet characters you feel you already know, and root for them in a believable plot--all while bringing important issues to the forefront. You'll laugh and you'll cry, but you'll also have things on which to ruminate. That's the mark of a good book and an excellent author.
Amber's accessible writing style, coupled with her penchant for heavy topics, made her a perfect match for this middle-grade book. Even though it covered subjects not normally encountered in middle-grade books, it was still a downright pleasure to read. I hope middle-graders find this book a comfort and a joy, as I did.
Sweet middle grades story about some challenges Sadie faces in growing up. There are the usual problems seen in many middle grades books of friends maturing at different rates and the issues that come with that. But there are other problems for Sadie, including her Gramps facing his own issues and some challenges at school. Dewey, Gramps and Macy are all wonderful characters who added some sweetness and depth to the story.
Honestly I've liked Smith's YA and I think she may underestimate her audience a bit here in her middle grade debut, you don't have to spell everything out. You can still do some showing. You could absolutely take out the weird dog-telepathy storyline and have a much stronger book with a regular dog/friend/grandparent plotline.
I love the family relationships, the school dynamic. Everything was so real. The telepathic communication between Sadie and the dog formerly known as Dewey was a great idea. Seriously could not put this book down until the end. So relatable on so many levels! Highly recommend. Will definitely read again.
Some animal lovers might like this one but there were a few too many loose ends for me. Why was Dewey mean at the beginning of the book and then not? Why did he stop talking to Sadie? What happened to Macy’s mom? I don’t think Sadie’s learning differences were addressed in a positive manner, which is disappointing because many readers could have used that.