The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family by Sarah Kapit

Fans of the Penderwicks and the Vanderbeekers, meet the Finkel family in this middle grade novel about two autistic sisters, their detective agency, and life’s most consequential mysteries.

When twelve-year-old Lara Finkel starts her very own detective agency, FIASCCO (Finkel Investigation Agency Solving Consequential Crimes Only), she does not want her sister, Caroline, involved. She and Caroline don’t have to do everything together. But Caroline won’t give up, and when she brings Lara the firm’s first mystery, Lara relents, and the questions start piling up.
 
But Lara and Caroline’s truce doesn’t last for long. Caroline normally uses her tablet to talk, but now she’s busily texting a new friend. Lara can’t figure out what the two of them are up to, but it can’t be good. And Caroline doesn’t like Lara’s snooping—she’s supposed to be solving other people’s crimes, not spying on Caroline! As FIASCCO and the Finkel family mysteries spin out of control, can Caroline and Lara find a way to be friends again?
When Lara Finkel creates her own detective agency (FIASCCO) she couldn't have predicted all that she would discover about her family. Her investigative skills are put to the test with the mysteries of what her sister Caroline has planned with her new friend Micah, why did her father forget to pick them up from school, and what is her big brother up to? 

The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family is a contemporary middle grade with mystery elements. It centers around family, secrets, mistakes, and forgiveness. Although I had some trouble remembering who's who, I loved having the duo perspectives of the two sisters - Lara and Caroline.

Lara and Caroline happen to be fifteen months apart from each other just like I am with my older brother. They are also both autistic and Jewish. Caroline's autism presents in a way where kids might not be so nice about it. She doesn't speak. Instead, she uses a tablet with a British sounding voice in order for her to seem more grown-up. She's just starting middle school and doesn't appreciate her sister sticking up for her. She wants to be independent. She meets a new friend named Micah, who after Caroline is bullied by another girl, gets roped into pranking her. Caroline is a sweetheart who will also make clear what she thinks around her family. But she also hides behind her feelings especially with Micah as she doesn't want to lose him as a friend. Lara on the other hand wants to be independent but also feels like her cousin from Israel is trying to take away Caroline from her. Lara has always taken care of Caroline so she naturally does so even when Caroline protests. She does some investigating into various family member's secrets which gets her into some trouble. She grows from those mistakes and becomes a better person. I easily cared for both Lara and Caroline. They were both dealing with their own issues and struggling with them. Their stories are perfect for kids who are dealing with changes or coming of age in middle school.

The sisterly and family dynamics are the center of this story. I love family-centered stories and this one was written so well. I particularly liked the character growth and lessons the two sisters learned. I also enjoyed reading about all the various foods from their culture. The father loved experimenting with food. He even made a food I love, Spanikopita, and when it was mentioned it made me want to grab some for myself. The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family is a wonderful story that shows no matter what you can learn and grow from your mistakes and your family will always have your back. Would recommend! 

Thank you to Penguin Young Readers Group and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family in exchange for an honest review!

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