Friday, June 25, 2021

Review: Really Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick


A Pumpkin Falls Mystery, #3
by Heather Vogel Frederick
Simon & Schuster
Middle Grade Mystery
354 pages
ages 8 to 12

JUNE 30th!!!

The Pumpkin Falls Private Eyes grapple with pirates and mermaids in the third cozy mystery of the middle grade series.

Truly Lovejoy is excited for the perfect summer in Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire: swim practice outside, working at the bookstore, one-on-one time with her mom, and best of all, time with the dreamy RJ Calhoun who may just like Truly back. But the idyllic falls apart when she’s sent off to mermaid academy—sparkly tail and all.

Luckily, a mystery is never too far behind the Pumpkin Falls Private Eyes, and synchronized swimming turns into a hunt for a sunken ship and an investigation of the founding of Pumpkin Falls…which may have involved more pirates than originally thought.

And as the Pumpkin Falls Private Eyes get closer to the heart of the mystery and Truly gets closer to her mermaid debut, she may just learn to come out of her shell.



Note: I did not read the first two books in this series, but that isn't a problem. There are nods to the earlier books and reading them first would clarify characters and such, but grabbing it up as a stand alone isn't terribly difficult, either.

Truly is anything but thrilled, when her family decides to have their annual reunion in the small town of Pumpkin Falls. She's still trying to settle in, since she no longer lives next to her best friend and cousin, and knows her huge family is embarrassing. But as life bubbles around her, the first mystery pops up and a trophy goes missing. But before her and her gang of sleuths can really get going, she's sent off to Mermaid Camp with her cousin...something she's not thrilled about. Add the new adventure of a possible lost treasure and deepening mystery back home, and soon she's dealing with more than a super heavy, mermaid tale.

This is such a lovely book. The author has woven two mysteries together, and that while diving into an amazing family and bunch of friends. Each character...and there are a lot of them...carries so much personality and quirks. There's a constant sense of chaos, and yet it's the wonderful kind, which makes the reader wish they could dive right into it too. The relatives are smart but ridiculous in their own ways, and the mermaid camp is packed full of unexpected and odd moments, too. Truly definitely has a lot going on, but she keeps her chin up, tries her best, and has so much support from around her that it's impossible not to cheer her on.

The mix of pirate treasure and mermaid camp is amazing...and not what I expected when I first read the blurb. The pirate end belongs to a mystery back in Pumpkin Falls, which her friends are investigating. This one involves the history of the town and a town myth. The Mermaid Camp, on the other hand, is a setting all for itself and involves Truly's cousin's dream of becoming...or learning to a mermaid. Actually, this end could have been a book on its own thanks to the amazing setting, characters and happenings. I almost wish this had been so as to let it deepen even more. The pirate mystery, while a great contrast (and in some ways, combination) to the mermaids, didn't get the attention it could have...and would have made a great book on its own as well.

This is a fun read with tons of silliness, tension, heart, family, friendship, and exciting mystery. I can really recommend it (and will have to go back and read the first two books, now).

And here she is...

Heather Vogel Frederick is the award-winning author of the Mother-Daughter Book Club series, the Pumpkin Falls Mystery series, the Patience Goodspeed books, the Spy Mice series, and Once Upon a Toad. An avid fan of small towns like Pumpkin Falls, Heather and her husband live in New England, close to where Heather grew up. You can learn more about the author and her books at

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