This is book number 1 in the Mysteries of Trash and Treasure series.
In this page-turning middle grade series by New York Times bestseller Margaret Peterson Haddix, Colin and Nevaeh, whose parents own rival junk-removal businesses, uncover mysteries hidden in attics and basements and discover how trash can become treasure. In The Secret Letters, Colin and Nevaeh find vintage letters that lead to interlocking mysteries from the 1970s and ‘80s, and they learn about “women’s lib,” the ERA, and other social issues from that time in history—and the way echoes from that era affect Colin and Nevaeh themselves.
When Colin finds a shoebox full of letters hidden in a stranger’s attic, he knows he’s supposed to throw them away. That’s his summer job, getting rid of junk. But Colin wants to rescue the letters--and find out what really happened to best friends Rosemary and Toby way back in the 1970s.
Meanwhile, across town, Nevaeh also finds a mysterious letter. But this one reads like a confession to a crime. And Nevaeh knows her father, the “Junk King,” expects her to join the rest of the family in blaming a single suspect: his business rival, Colin’s mom.
But that’s not what Nevaeh wants, either.
Even as one set of letters bring Colin and Nevaeh together, the one Nevaeh found threatens to tear them apart. Is their new friendship as doomed as Rosemary and Toby’s?
Each book in the Mysteries of Trash and Treasure series will examine a different time period in history and make readers think about how we value the stuff we hold on to—and what it is that makes it valuable.
Margaret Peterson Haddix grew up on a farm in Ohio. As a kid, she knew two girls who had the exact same first, middle, and last names and shared the same birthday—only one year apart—and she always thought that was bizarre.
As an adult, Haddix worked as a newspaper reporter and copy editor in Indiana before her first book, Running Out of Time, was published. She has since written more than forty books for kids and teens, including the Greystone Secrets series, the Shadow Children series, the Missing series, the Children of Exile series, and lots of stand-alones. Haddix and her husband, Doug, now live in Columbus, Ohio, where they raised their two kids. You can learn more about her at haddixbooks.com.
"Two sets of friends, separated by 50 years, are the heart of an engrossing historical fiction and mystery tale [that] seamlessly integrates the history of the modern women’s rights movement into the character-driven narrative. Master storyteller Haddix is in top form, weaving a complex tapestry of different genres, time lines, and generations of characters in a can’t-put-it-down novel. VERDICT A winning start to a new series and a first purchase for all middle grade collections." — School Library Journal (starred review)
"Two 12-year-olds from rival small-town Ohio junk-removal families bond over a historical mystery in this accomplished series starter by Haddix. Brief third-person chapters alternate, building momentum through a gently feminist undercurrent while conferring character depth via affection for the letter writers and their opposing views on objects from the past." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Haddix writes with her usual smooth skill in this series opener, weaving in an interesting theme about possessions and what they mean to different people. The characters are real and inviting, and the emotions ring true. Fast-paced and enjoyable." — Kirkus Reviews
PRAISE FOR THE GREYSTONE SECRETS, THE STRANGERS: “A satisfying third-person narrative that portrays the complex anxieties and internal lives of close, caring family members grappling with a single set of extraordinary circumstances—separately and together. A secret-stacked, thrilling series opener about perception, personal memories, and the idiosyncrasies that form individual identities.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Maintains suspense from the beginning to the cliffhanger ending. A high-stakes adventure full of teamwork with a multifaceted mystery and complex themes.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Haddix returns with another mystery/adventure/science-fiction hybrid filled with twists, turns, and political undertones in the nefarious intentions of the alternate world. This first installment ends expectedly with a cliffhanger that is sure to leave readers wanting more.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
PRAISE FOR REMARKABLES: "Haddix realistically portrays Charlie’s distress at his parents’ addiction and shows how Charlie’s identification with his father leaves him nearly incapable of imagining happiness for himself. Ultimately, Marin discovers that her and Charlie’s role might not be in changing the past but rerouting the future. VERDICT Gripping, heartfelt, thoughtful and fun, Remarkables will delight readers of both tween realism and time-travel fantasy." — School Library Journal (starred review)
“As ever, Haddix plots her satisfying mystery with careful touch points and reveals. But it is her smart exploration of the past’s legacy and sensitively painted family dynamics—from Marin’s exhausted but joyful parents to Charley’s difficult family story—that make this story remarkable.” — Publishers Weekly
“Blending issues that matter to young adolescents with intrigue and a surprise ending, Haddix proves why she’s a master of middle-grade fiction.” — Kirkus Reviews