Middle Grade Spotlight: A Perfect Mistake by Melanie Conklin

Novel: A Perfect Mistake

Author: by Melanie Conklin

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release Date: July 12, 2022

Target audience: Ages 8-12

ADHD and toxic masculinity are powerfully woven together in Melanie Conklin’s A PERFECT MISTAKE, a moving, voice-driven, and unputdownable middle grade mystery about friendship and responsibility. Conklin skillfully balances Max’s hope of unearthing new information about what put his friend in a coma with his guilt, charting an emotional rollercoaster, all while authentically portraying ADHD by drawing on the author’s husband’s and son’s experiences.

Max wishes he could go back in time to before he was diagnosed with ADHD, before he grew to be the tallest kid in his class, and before he and his best friends went into the woods in the middle of the night. Max doesn’t remember what happened after he left his friends Will and Joey and the older kids who took them there. He’s not sure if he wants to remember. Knowing isn’t going to make Joey talk to him again, or bring Will out of his coma.

When the local authorities run out of leads, Max realizes that without his help, they may never know what really happened to Will. Charged by the idea that he may be the key to uncovering the truth, Max pairs up with his classmate and aspiring journalist Sam to investigate what really happened that night. But not everyone in the community wants that night to be remembered.

“A compelling novel of friendship, responsisiblity, and standing up for what is right.” – Erin Entrada Kelly, Newbery Medal-winning author of Hello, Universe

Melanie Conklin is the author of Counting Thyme and Every Missing Piece. Melanie grew up in North Carolina and worked as a product designer before she began her writing career. When she’s not writing, Melanie spends her time doodling and dreaming up new ways to be creative. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

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