The Key to Everything

The Key to Everything

 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
548   0
Write Review
The Key to Everything
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
May 08, 2018
ISBN
978-0763695668
Buy This Book
      
For eleven-year-old Tash, Cap’n Jackie isn’t just the elderly next-door neighbor — she’s family. When she disappears, only Tash holds the key that might bring her back.

Tash didn’t want to go to camp, didn’t want to spend the summer with a bunch of strangers, didn’t want to be separated from the only two people she has ever been able to count on: her uncle Kevin, who saved her from foster care, and Cap’n Jackie, who lives next door. Camp turns out to be pretty fun, actually, but when Tash returns home, Cap’n Jackie is gone. And Tash needs her — the made-up stories of dolphin-dragons, the warm cookies that made everything all right after a fight, the key Cap’n Jackie always insisted had magic in it. The Captain always said all Tash had to do was hold it tight and the magic would come. Was it true? Could the key bring Cap’n Jackie back? In a heartfelt and stunningly written story, Pat Schmatz introduces readers to a tenacious, fiercely loyal girl struggling to let go of the fantasies and fears of her childhood . . . and say yes to everything that lies ahead.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0  (1)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A  (0)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

Easy to read with a lot of depth

Eleven-year-old Tash has been carted off to camp against her will, and she'll be there for a month while her uncle/foster father Kevin visits New Zealand. Tash would have preferred to stay with their elderly neighbor, Cap'n Jackie. Cap'n Jackie tells awesome stories about Draphin (an imaginary pet dolphin-dragon), and she bakes magical cookies. Unfortunately, Jackie and Kevin have teamed up against Tash, and the three are separated for a month and only able to communicate through letters and emails. Tash is stunned and hurt to find that everything has changed when they're finally reunited.

THE KEY TO EVERYTHING by Pat Schmatz begins with Tash's departure for camp, and the first chapter is told largely through correspondence. When Tash returns home, she feels that she's a little more grown-up, but she's not quite ready to deal with the news that Cap'n Jackie has had an accident that landed her first in the hospital and then in a rehab facility. Cap'n Jackie's injuries aren't only physical, either. The agoraphobic woman doesn't manage the transition to life outside of her home, and she's largely unresponsive to Tash, Kevin, and anyone else. Basically, she's completely given up on life--and as a result, Tash really has to grow up fast.

THE KEY TO EVERYTHING is amazing in its complexity--especially considering the book's brevity--but it's also easy to read. The characters are great (I particularly enjoyed Tash), and the story is engaging. It stretches the definition of family and faces the topics of phobias, anger management, and grief in a way that is accessible to middle school readers. It also touches on addiction, and it handles all of those heavy topics with a combination of openness and innocence.

The final chapter of THE KEY TO EVERYTHING is a tear-jerker, and the book comes to a satisfying ending without tying everything up TOO neatly.

I really enjoyed this book, and I definitely recommend it. My thanks to the publisher and YA Books Central for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Good Points
An engaging story with great characters
Examines a myriad of difficult topics really well
Was this review helpful to you? 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

A strong educational foundation helps ensure a child is able...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A strong educational foundation helps ensure a child is able...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A strong educational foundation helps ensure a child is able...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Be More Chill: Broadway Tie-In
The groundbreaking novel that inspired the Tony-nominated Broadway musical! Jeremy...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Season of the Witch (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, #1)
From the creator of Riverdale comes the Chilling Adventures of...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Dummy Meets the Mummy! (Goosebumps SlappyWorld #8)
After being put back to sleep and abandoned in an...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
It's Alive! It's Alive! (Goosebumps SlappyWorld #7)
A brand-new Goosebumps arc narrated by the most iconic and...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Every Stolen Breath
The Swarm is unrecognizable, untraceable, and unpredictable—random attacks on the...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Cursed Beauty
Aurora Rose Brynhild is out of time. ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The C Word
Addison: Secrets have a way of getting out....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Aphelion
Ky isn’t your typical seventeen-year-old girl. She's an alien hunter.Ky...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Announcing Trouble
I may know everything there is to know about baseball,...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seneca Lake
It's 1944, and high school senior Meg Michaels has always...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Freshman Witch
Of course, magic is real. Everybody knows that. ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sarai and The Around The World Fair
When Sarai outgrows her bike, she worries she'll never get...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Of Beast and Beauty
7 vengeful sisters 7 fairytale kingdoms 7 daughters...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Twilight (Twilight #1)
 
4.7
"I don’t even know how to begin this review. This isn’t the first time I’ve read Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight. It..."
Storm and Fury
 
5.0
"Storm and Fury by Jennifer L Armentrout is the first in her spin-off series The Harbinger. When I started reading,..."
Be More Chill: Broadway Tie-In
 
3.7
"BE MORE CHILL is an interesting discourse on popularity/being "Cool" and the pros/cons of technology. Jeremy is part of the..."
Season of the Witch (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, #1)
 
4.7
"SEASON OF THE WITCH is a fantastic start to the Sabrina series. While fans of the shows will appreciate all..."
Every Stolen Breath
 
4.0
"EVERY STOLEN BREATH is an engrossing read that follows Lia as she attempts to uncover her father's killers. Every so..."
Fangs & Fins
 
3.3
"Ivy and Ember are thrown together when their parents marry. One a popular girl, the other a bookworm, they start..."
Announcing Trouble
 
5.0
"Making me smile all the way through, ANNOUNCING TROUBLE was a pure delight. Josie is almost eighteen with an enormous..."
Darkness on the Edge of Town (Stranger Things )
 
4.7
"Darkness on the Edge of Town is a fascinating glimpse into Hopper's past. Being a big fan of Hopper since..."
Moon Water: A Novel
 
3.3
"MOON WATER follows Nettie in the summer of 1969 when her life is in turmoil. Nettie is 16 years old..."
The Memory Thief
 
4.7
"THE MEMORY THIEF is an engrossing YA fantasy that will keep you turning pages late into the night. Etta lives..."
Watch Us Rise
 
4.3
"WHAT I LOVED: Readers get a dual POV novel narrated by Jasmine, a fat Black girl, and Chelsea, a..."
Meet the Sky
 
5.0
"MEET THE SKY is a beautiful story about loss, life, and love. Sophie lives with her mother and sister, who..."
She's the Liar
 
5.0
"'She's the Liar' by Alison Cherry is about sisters Abby and Sydney and their time together at Brookside Academy. Abby,..."
The Speed of Falling Objects
 
5.0
"THE SPEED OF FALLING OBJECTS begins with a bang- Danny has been in a plane crash and is lost in..."
Let's Call It a Doomsday
 
4.0
"LET'S CALL IT A DOOMSDAY follows Ellis, a teenager who is Mormon and has an anxiety disorder. Eliis is in..."
A Dress for the Wicked
 
5.0
"A DRESS FOR THE WICKED is a lush and enthralling YA historical fiction that feels anything but historical! Emmaline (Emmy)..."
Rated
 
3.3
"RATED follows six teens in alternating points-of-view as they navigate a dystopian future. In this society, your life is dictated..."
Truly Madly Royally
 
3.0
"Truly Madly Royally was a cute-ish read that lacked a certain something to take it fully over the edge. ..."
Under The Moon: A Catwoman Tale
 
4.0
"UNDER THE MOON brings us into the teenage years of Selina Kyle, who will eventually become Catwoman. Selina has a..."
The Surface Breaks: A Reimagining of The Little Mermaid
 
4.3
"THE SURFACE BREAKS is a slow-building retelling of The Little Mermaid. While staying true to the classic, this story adds..."