Merry Christmas, my friends!
I hope this season fills you with joy and peace. We all need a bit more of that in this crazy world.
Today I am really excited to share my review of The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found by Karina Yan Glauser. This is the fourth book in the Vanderbeeker series which I absolutely love. I read this book right after it was published this past fall but reviews are sadly hard for me to get written lately (life with three kids!!). So here I am months later sharing my review. Better late than never, right? 🙂
- This is one of my favorite books in the series. I loved that it focuses on Orlando and how he has become part of the Vanderbeeker family. I think these books just keep getting better with each new sequel in the series!
- I loved getting back in the world of the Vanderbeekers. So many things to love. There is something so nostalgic and special about this family and their overflowing Brownstone.
According to Goodreads, “When autumn arrives on 141st Street, the Vanderbeekers are busy helping Mr. Beiderman get ready for the New York City Marathon and making sure the mysterious person sleeping in the community garden gets enough to eat. But when they discover the true identity of the person making a home in the community garden’s shed, their world turns upside down as they learn what it means to care for someone in an impossible situation.“
The characters are what make these books so fantastic and this one was no exception. We see new sides, strengths, and struggles with each of the Vanderbeeker children which made me love their characters even more.
- I loved getting inside Hyacinth’s head and her strength and courage to make new friends. That is a hard thing to do and I admired how she tried (and sometimes failed) at it. She is a sweet girl and I was glad she made new friends by the end.
- Laney is fantastic because she is quintessentially optimistic. She sees the good in everyone (and loves talking to everyone too). Even when tragedy strikes the Brownstone, Laney manages to stay happy.
- Oliver continues to navigate being the only brother in the family. I appreciate his love of adventure books and his tree house while also being a fiercely loyal friend.
- I laughed out loud with Isa and her boy drama. It was so classic high school miscommunication, and I was relieved that Benny wasn’t actually a jerk. It is fun to see these kids grow up a bit especially in this story. I loved seeing them navigate their changing lives in realistic, relatable ways.
- Jess is at her best in this one. From her determination to create a unique science fair project to her fierce loyalty to her friends and family, I loved Jess in this one. I loved that we get a bit more emotion and intimacy with her. She is often closed off and trying to be the strong one. But we saw a good glimpse of Jess behind her shell. I loved the ending with her!
The characters surrounding the Vanderbeekers were as vibrant and engaging as I remember. Miss Josey and Mr Jeet are my favorites. I definitely cried about these two in this book We knew such a twist was coming but it didn’t make it easier to read. A beautifully written tribute to their friend and neighbor and a poignant yet simple account of childhood grief. I loved how connected Mr Beiderman and Orlando become in this novel. I love how far Mr B has come in the series. Now he’s running a marathon–amazing! The ending connections between these two are fantastic and a bit unexpected. Orlando is a strong, loyal friend. And I was surprised to learn about all the hard things he was dealing with behind the scenes. Love that at the center of this story are friendships that become more like family.
I love the writing style in these novels because it feels like I am a friend of the Vanderbeekers. I feel like a part of their family because the writing brings readers right into their home. I also really enjoy the “# of days before the NYC marathon” headings. There have been similar headings in all four books in the series. I think it’s a fun way to break it up. Also love the drawings of their home and family trees tying everyone together. It makes this story feel intimate and readers feel like part of the family.
This book is fantastic not only for it’s lovable characters and great writing but also because it tackles big issues like childhood homelessness and the death of loved one in ways that feel intimate and easy to connect with. Glaser takes big time issues and makes them relatable on an individual level. This isn’t a preachy novel pushing issues at readers. Instead, it is a story of a family and how they navigate the unexpected, the difficult and the joyful in their lives. I’m glad to know the Vanderbeekers!
Who are some of your favorite literary families?
What series about families do you love?