{Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes: Mary E. Lambert}

I received this book for free from Scholastic Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

{Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes: Mary E. Lambert}Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes by Mary E. Lambert
Published by Scholastic Press on February 28, 2017
Genres: Childrens, Coming of Age, Contemporary, Drama, Family, Friendship, Humor, Middle School, Realistic Fiction, Social Issues, Tween
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
Source: Scholastic Press
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5 Stars





{Synopsis} – Annabelle has a five mile rule: She must keep her friends from coming within five miles of her home. That’s because Annabelle’s mom is a hoarder. Their house is full of stuff: canned goods, broken toys, old newspapers… It’s everywhere except for Annabelle’s spotless room.

Annabelle can’t let anyone find out what her house is like. They’ll realize that her mom is crazy. They’ll make fun of her. Or feel sorry for her. Or try to help.

But when the newspaper piles come crashing down on her sister’s head one morning, it kicks off an epic fight between her parents that ends up with her dad taking off — and her fix-it-all grandmother stepping in.

As Annabelle realizes how bad things have gotten for her little sister, while trying to navigate her first crush, not to mention stay sane herself, she’s forced to come to terms with the fact that maybe she can’t keep all her secrets to herself. Maybe she can’t just throw her mom’s things out… maybe she has to let some people in.

{My thoughts} – Have you ever read a book and thought to yourself – “I can really relate to this on so many different levels?” This was one of those types of books for me. I seriously thought I might have stepped into the pages of a book that were so similar to my childhood that I had to keep reading just to see if it had a better outcome. I wouldn’t wish this type of situation on anyone and the author wrote it so incredibly well that it would appear they too have had some type of experience in this kind of situation or they did some really good research for their book.

Annabelle is one of three children. She has an older brother and a younger sister. Her older brother is gone from home as much as possible as a means of dealing with the situation. Her younger sister doesn’t really know how she deal with it because she doesn’t really know anything else. When it comes to Annabelle she knows that the situation is wrong and she tries her best to keep things that she’s able under control, but it doesn’t always work out that well for her. Sometimes – things still tend to get a bit more on the bad side.

Within the pages of this book is an incredible story. It’s a story about a girl that is lost in a mess that her mother created. It’s about a father that chooses to ignore his surroundings for no other reason then it’s easier for him. A brother that tries to be gone as much as possible and a sister that cries in her sleep because she’s scared of what might or could happen to them or their mother.

I highly recommend this book for any child that has been stuck in a situation similar to this one. It does get better, it can get better. It helps for the child or children to know that it isn’t their fault, that they didn’t do anything wrong, that they didn’t cause it and that with help the situation can be turned around. They also have to know that it takes time to correct and work through all the things that have caused the issues, the problems, the mess. It all takes time.

{Quotes I Enjoyed} –
{01} – I don’t want to think about nightmares and death files… on the rare, special days when I’m away from it all, I don’t want to drag my problems with me. I want to forget them, sometimes forgetting things is the only way to be happy.
{02} – I wish my problems could be summed up with embarrassing t-shirts and fanny packs.
{03} – But what’s one more secret in a house that’s piled up with them?
{04} – I’m tough. I can be as heartless as I need to be. That’s what it takes to survive life in this house.
{05} – But you can turn off bad feelings, and you can shove the hurt down so far and so deep that it fades. I box it up and picture lots and lots of duct tape holding the box closed.
{06} – It’s hard to keep friends when half your life is this huge secret and you can’t let them within five miles of your house.
{07} – “You were always such a sweet, sensitive little thing. So full of love and so easily hurt. But haven’t you figured it out yet? You are broken, and sometimes I think we just crash through life, breaking each other worse.” – Grandma Nora
{08} – I’ve gotten rather spectacularly good at hiding from life in a book, for all those times I can’t physically get away.
{09} – I’ve kept silent for so long that it’s a habit. But I’m starting to think that I haven’t helped anyone by hiding the mess at home. Maybe the silences have even made things worse – allowed the problems to fester and grow. Maybe its time to stop keeping everything secret.
{10} – Maybe I am broken. Maybe all of us are. At this moment, I can’t pretend to myself, or to anyone else, that I am whole and unhurt. I feel like I am shattering in a dozen different directions.
{11} – So much for my ironclad control of my emotions. The more I tried to push them away, the worse they are when they fight their way to the surface.
{12} – I’m starting to realize that sometimes, with the people who love you, when you need something, all you have to do is ask. It’s not always that simple. Except that sometimes it is.