Review Detail

contemporary middle grade with animal fun
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
HARVEY HOLDS HIS OWN is a contemporary middle grade told from three perspectives: Maggie, Harvey, and Austin. Maggie is starting seventh grade at a female private school, and she has to do a volunteer project. When she sees the retirement community where Harvey had lived before, she decides to revisit it, and take Harvey along to see his old friends. In a previous book, Harvey had gotten lost while Maggie was on vacation and found himself there, being taken care of by Austin, who lied about checking for a microchip.

Maggie doesn't really want to see Austin again, but she does think Harvey would love the chance to see his old friends. When she starts volunteering there, she starts considering the other sides of Austin and learns more about the people who live there, particularly the newest resident, Mrs. Fradette, whose stories about her own childhood are really intriguing.

What I loved: I found Maggie to be particularly compelling, and I appreciated her struggles with evolving friendships and the quest for popularity that becomes so common in middle school. Harvey's perspective adds a cuteness to the book that will appeal to young readers who love pets. I also appreciated the members of the retirement community and the perspectives they have throughout. The residents are really special and their characters add a lot to the story. The illustrations throughout are also really great and just as cute as the image of Harvey on the cover.

What left me wanting more: Austin's perspective did not add so much, though he is working on his grandfather's loss of a job and ageism in that they want to hire someone younger and cheaper. I wanted a little more of his outside life and to really fill in his emotions.

Final verdict: With fantastic characters and unique perspectives, HARVEY HOLDS HIS OWN is a middle grade contemporary that will appeal to the preteen audience well. Great for animal lovers and middle schoolers dealing with evolving friendships.
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