Meet the Hardscrabbles: Otto is the oldest who wears a scarf all the time and hasn't spoken a word since the day his mother disappeared, Lucia is a hard-headed girl who is perfectly content to take the lead, and Max is the youngest who has a keen eye and never turns down a moment to think. When their father takes off on one of his routine mysterious trips and leaves them with poor instructions, the children suddenly find themselves chasing after clues and answers. With nothing but the clothes on their backs and a five-legged cat, the Hardscrabbles set off on an adventure more important than any one of them could have imagined.
From the cover art, the tone, the siblings, and the unnamed narrator, there is no denying the similarities of the Hardscrabbles to Lemony Snickett's Baudelaire's. However, the resemblances end there. Ellen Potter quickly creates her own mystery and action to set her apart from her colleague and it works. Her writing is very easy to melt into, the descriptions clear and simple for readers to picture the scenes easily. I found myself attached to all three Hardscrabble kids equally, though there was something about Otto that lingered longer in my mind after putting the book down. Perhaps it was his blond hair and brooding good looks from the cover art that caught my eye. All in all, a good middle-grade book, but nothing that really impressed me.
Overall Rating: 3 Stars