Booktalk for THE STRANGERS by Margaret Peterson Haddix

There are three kids in the Greystone family: a second grader named Finn, a fourth grader named Emma, and a sixth grader named Chess (short for Rochester).

Normally when the kids arrive home from school, their mom is eager to see them. She takes a break from her work and asks them about their day. She might bake chocolate chip cookies or at least bring out the goldfish crackers.

Today, though, their mom doesn’t come swooping out to hug them when they come in the door. The kids have to track her down. They find her standing in the kitchen, her back to them. She’s staring at her open laptop, clenching the counter like she needs it to hold her up. She’s whispering, “No, no…”

When she sees the kids, she immediately pretends like nothing is wrong. She puts a smile on her face, and she starts to close down her laptop—but Chess stops her. The kids hear the news report that so shocked their mom: Three children were just kidnapped. A second grader named Finn, a fourth grader named Emma, and a sixth grader named Rocky (short for Rochester).

A 1000 miles away, in Arizona, there are three siblings with the same names—and the same birthdays—as the Greystone kids. And they’ve just been kidnapped.

But it’s just a coincidence, right? A really, really strange coincidence. They Greystone kids themselves aren’t in danger, are they?

Genre: science fiction, thriller

Grades: 5-8.

 

Anna’s take on it: 

I’m using this title to start off my fifth and sixth grade booktalk presentations this fall. So many kids want to read it! The story is face paced, with a good dose of spine-tingly fear. I stayed up until 1 a.m. to finish reading it. As I tell the kids, I just had to find out what was going to happen. But beware, it is the start of a series, so we have to be patient (sigh) to truly find out everything.