Finding Serendipity

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Finding Serendipity Book Poster Image
Bold girl dives into author mom's story in wild romp.

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Kids say

age 7+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Information about writing, structuring stories, rhyming couplets, alliteration.

Positive Messages

Sometimes problems are difficult and challenging, and the path ahead is foggy, but there's always a way out if you're brave and persevere. Imagination and inventiveness are assets. You can learn how to do things (such as sailing a boat) by consulting books.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Excellent female role models for girl readers. The main character is an adventurous girl who surmounts challenges by using her imagination and writing her way out of danger. Her mother is a highly successful, famous writer who writes adventure stories and also is a loving mother and mentor to her daughter. The main character in her mother's books (and now the girl's own story) is a wildly adventurous girl who battles pirates.

Violence & Scariness

Some description of the battle with pirates is graphically gruesome. A character blows a poison dart that "buried itself deep in the eye of the pirate." After a battle, one pirate "had a hole right through his cheek." When the pirates sew a shroud for a fallen leader, they run a needle through his nose, as per pirate custom. The main pirate villain has numerous broken limbs and a broken neck that are described vividly as "pitched backward," "in a direction that should not have been possible," and so on.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Finding Serendipity is a wildly inventive story by Angelica Banks, the pen name of two adult fiction writers from Australia who use their literary smarts to craft a story-within-a-story. The book features an adventurous girl protagonist, her successful writer mother, and the fearless girl character they invent together. When Tuesday's mom, famous writer Serendipity Smith, goes missing, Tuesday sets out to find her. She steps into her mother's story, befriends her mom's main character, battles pirates, and saves herself and her new friend by trying her own hand at altering the plot. Two sequels are scheduled. 

User Reviews

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Kid, 10 years old March 25, 2020

this book was amazing

this book was really good. the characters were well described and i felt like i was with them. when i finished the book i was sad and wanted to keep reading. i... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 20, 2019

Intense comprehension needed

This book was complex but adored by me. You really have to pay attention or you might get lost in the story. Overall a great read!

What's the story?

Tuesday McGillycuddy discovers that her mom, a wildly famous author on the order of J.K. Rowling, is missing and determines to find her. When Tuesday snoops for clues, she types on her mom's typewriter, and the words become a silvery thread leading her and her dog to a fantastic land where writers go to finish their stories. There, Tuesday inserts herself into her mom's unfinished story, meets her mom's feisty girl protagonist, and battles a couplet-loving pirate -- but can she save the day and make the story her own?

Is it any good?

FINDING SERENDIPITY is swashbuckling fun, a pirate adventure story and literary romp rolled into one. Young readers will love being transported to a land where writers meet their characters and work out stories, a window onto the writer's process. Both the story-within-the-story and the actual story are page-turners. And there's a mind-bending dramatic twist when the mom unwittingly puts her daughter in more danger.

There's also lots of entertaining wordplay: Tuesday's dad speaks alliteratively (starting each word with the same letter) just for the fun of it, and he and Tuesday trade rhyming couplets, a skill that serves Tuesday well later, when she challenges the pirate to a competitive round of couplets. Readers will enjoy this smart, quirky family and welcome this new resourceful girl protagonist.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about writing stories. How do you get ideas for your own stories? How do you decide what's going to happen in the plot?

  • Have fun with language: Try making up rhyming couplets at the dinner table. 

  • This book was written by two authors writing under the one pen name Angelica Banks. What do you think would be difficult about writing a story with someone else? What would be fun and helpful? Try writing a story with a friend or sibling. 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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