Parents' Guide to

Absolutely Truly: A Pumpkin Falls Mystery

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Mildly entertaining tween mystery falls short in resolution.

Absolutely Truly:  A Pumpkin Falls Mystery Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 10+

I Truly Loved This Book!

Emotionally riveting, "Absolutely Truly" is perfect for a number of audiences: military families; children adjusting to a new school; transitioning to adolescence; living with a depressed family member-and many more! Truly grapples with common relatable challenges: struggling academically; finding a friend group; feelings that come with thinking her name is unusual; feeling insecure about her body and abilities; learning how to cope and respond when being teased and picked on by immature boys; dealing with gossip and rumors; family financial struggles; longing for affirmation from the fun yet firm father she once knew-before he lost a limb and his dream career due to combat injuries. Truly models character, resilience, problem solving, assertiveness, and learns several difficult life lessons along the way. Truly maintains her own identity and independent thoughts, yet demonstrates obedience and respect for her parents and others she disagrees with. There is a lot packed in around the small-town mystery in this gem of a book. A very wholesome and interesting read.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 8+

Fun and delightful

This is a great story and full of laughs. It also has depth. It is well-written and a delight to read. I, as an adult, enjoyed it immensely. I am going to recommend it to my extended family as well. I'm sure they will get a kick out of it. I'll be on the lookout for more books by Heather V. Frederick.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Heather Vogel Frederick's ABSOLUTELY TRULY is a mildly entertaining but flawed mystery. Frederick's strength lies in her well-developed and relatable narrator; in the colorful, busy world of a family-run bookstore; and in an intriguing mystery that keeps the reader guessing as it unfolds. There are two mysteries going on at once: Who stole the autographed first edition of Charlotte's Web, and who left the trail of cryptic love letters? Truly only actively pursues the love-letter mystery, and it's an entertaining investigation that's satisfactorily, although not especially imaginatively, resolved. The resolution of the stolen book is frustrating, though; it's simply not believable, relying on no more than the fact that the perpetrator's a bit odd.

The writing overall is perfunctory and lacks sparkle. The pace often slows to a crawl while Frederick meticulously documents where each member of Truly's large family can be found at the moment (wrestling practice, a play date, in the office) without eliminating suspects or helping the reader get to know minor characters better. And it does seem unforgivable to tell what happens to Charlotte in a book aimed at 8- to 12-year-olds. Still, if your kid already knows about Charlotte, is a voracious reader, and is wondering what being a gawky middle schooler is all about, he or she will enjoy getting to know Truly and following her exploits.

Book Details

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