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The Key to Every Thing by Pat Schmatz
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The Key to Every Thing

by Pat Schmatz

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Tasha lives with her Uncle Kevin because her dad is in prison. He is super reliable, as her alcoholic father never was. But the touchstone in her life has become Captain Jackie, the woman who lives next door and cares for Tasha when her uncle is at work so she doesn't have to be alone. The Captain takes a fall while Tasha is at camp, and her recovery is not going well. Desperately, Tasha searches for the key and the hope to solve all the Captain's ills and make her want to stay. ( )
  lilibrarian | May 7, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Key to Everything is a bout a young girl who is sent off to camp, when she returns her life is turned upside down when her neighbor Jackie is gone. There is so much more to this book though... and I don't want to spoil it.



It took me a few days to digest this book after reading it. It follows a girl named Tash who is still young and right now she is bitter about having to go to camp for the summer. The book is about 200 pages and it is a middle grade read so it was a quick one but it was also a very emotional one. It will bring back feelings of being a misunderstood 11 year old and hating everything or if you are 11 and reading it - you will completely understand where Tash is coming from. It is also sad. Tash is troubled to begin with but she has Jackie, their elderly neighbor, who stays with her during the day and they come up with these elaborate stories and magical worlds together. It sounds pretty great for Tash but not so good when something happens to Jackie.

I really really don't want to go into too much detail about this plot because I think it adds to it not to know what is going to happen. Tash is learning to grow up in this book and sometimes it takes some hard-knocks to get there.

If you are looking for a contemporary read this was a good read, it is emotional though, so be prepared. I also think that all ages would do well reading this book it was beautiful. ( )
  sszkutak | Apr 12, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Key To Everything, by Pat Schmatz is a touching, coming of age tale for a young girl named Tash. Abandoned by her mother for reasons unknown, and abandoned by her imprisoned father, she lives with her uncle Kevin, and spends parts of her days with an old woman named Cap’n Jackie, who is a sort of surrogate mother. Life seems to be getting on pretty well until she is forced to go to summer camp for a month, something Tash is adamantly opposed to. When she returns, her world changes.

Pat’s writing style is obviously professional, and she knows how to develop all of her characters well. The story is a fast paced one, likely to keep young readers reading. Tash, the main character is complex one, which really adds a lot to the story. Her life has not been easy, and any more abandonment can send her over the edge in a heartbeat. We see how Cap’n Jackie has helped Tash see beyond the concrete here and now of everyday existence. The woman learned to see life from a different perspective, keeping the magic and fantasy as part of her daily living.

The story also includes a subtopic concerning alternative lifestyles, yet presents it how life is these days. It doesn’t push the theme to make it controversial. It simply is.

I could see this book as a valuable read to most anyone. For adults, who need to bring some fantasy into their lives. For young readers who enjoy a story for kids their age, and for everyone else who enjoys reading a good story. Highly recommended. ( )
  Bruce_A | Mar 4, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a free advanced copy of this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

This has been a hard book to review because on one hand I really liked the story which is about a girl named Tash who comes home from camp to find her next-door-neighbor/babysitter/grandmother figure Cap’n Jackie in a rehab hospital after falling and breaking her hip. On the other hand, the characters and their backstories are not fleshed out enough and leave me wanted to know more about their past to understand their present. You learn bits and pieces about them as the story unfolds, but it can be jarring at first because you are thrown into the story right from the start with Tash going to summer camp while her Uncle (who’s her guardian) goes off to New Zealand for a month. At first, I thought the story would follow her time in camp, but that ends after a short chapter and then Tash comes home to find Cap’n Jackie in the hospital and not talking to anyone. You learn a little about how Tash ended up living with her Uncle because her father is in jail, you learn a little about Vanessa who was the most important person in Cap’n Jackie’s life and you learn a little about Kevin who was raised by Cap’n Jackie and now lives in NYC. There’s also the belief of Cap’n Jackie and Tash that a “magic” key helps them imagine Draphin who is a half-dragon, half-dolphin character.

There’s some good lessons about forgiveness, death, friendship and family in this book as you learn more about the characters. Overall though, I felt like I was tuning in to watch the rest of a TV series without having seen the first few episodes and trying to catch up on the relationships between the characters. If you take this book for what it is and don’t overthink it like us adults tend to do, it’s a good story that I could see a lot of upper elementary/middle school students enjoying. ( )
  nicholsm | Feb 27, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is the story of a young girl who is dealing with growing up while facing ghosts from her past that she doesn't really understand. It is told through the perspective of Tash so the reader gets to feel the confusion and fear that this girl is experiencing. The characters aren't fleshed out and explained right from the start, instead you are thrown in in the middle and get to know them as you go along. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I'm not sure what age this book is intended for but I definitely think a little older than the 10-11 years old that the main character is.
  barefeet4 | Feb 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This story is about a girl named Tash who grows up quickly when her neighbor, Capt'n Jackie, is injured in a fall. There's plenty to like in Tash, but not enough background on Jackie to make the reader care.
added by MrSiss | editGoodreads.com, Will Siss (Feb 13, 2018)
 
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