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Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers' Favorite
When Anna and Levi break into their school one evening to recover assignment notes, they did not expect to be part of the ongoing mystery surrounding the school’s persistent strange noises and temperature changes. Finding two sweet mice in the basement changed their lives when the mice begin to influence Levi and Anna. Timid Levi becomes fearless. Fearful Anna adopts a calm attitude that pleases her and those around her. As long as Levi and Anna have their mice, life is good. Or is it? Since 1920 the building was known to be peculiar. Stories were abundant as to the reason. Supposedly a janitor died in the basement and haunts the halls. Anna soon learns the actual reason and it is her job to right the wrongs that plague the balance of the school community.
How I Broke My School by Diane Owens is a surprising combination of middle grade coming of age and sci-fi/fantasy. Diane Owens has incorporated two very exciting reading genres into one in this tale of a “haunted” school. The characters are funny, yet quite real in narrative and social interaction. Young readers will enjoy the fantasy within the reality theme. Once the mice have reunited, the necessary balance resumes and Anna realizes, “I’ll stop concentrating on what’s wrong and start appreciating what’s right.” A fun story for all ages, I feel that grades four through six will claim this as their own as either an independent read or a class assignment.