Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe

Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe

All her life, Cricket’s mama has told her stories about a secret room painted by a mysterious artist. Now Mama’s run off, and Cricket thinks the room might be the answer to getting her to come back. Ifit exists. And if she can find it.

Cricket’s only clue is a coin from a grown-over ghost town in the woods. So with her daddy’s old guidebook and a coat full of snacks stolen from the Cash ‘n’ Carry, Cricket runs away to find the room. Surviving in the woods isn’t easy. While Cricket camps out in an old tree house and looks for clues, she meets the last resident of the ghost town, encounters a poetry-loving dog (who just might hold a key to part of the puzzle), and discovers that sometimes you have to get a little lost… to really find your way.

This is the perfect book for the middle grader looking for “an intriguing and complex protagonist, and [a] plot full of adventure, treasure hunts, and mystery, will keep young readers hooked” (School Library Journal). Take a deeper dive with students in this activity guide and educator’s guide.

Jo Watson Hackl

Jo Watson Hackl was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, not far from Ocean Springs, where her favorite artist, Walter Anderson, lived and once painted a secret room. When Jo was eleven, she moved to a real-life ghost town, Electric Mills, Mississippi. Mr. Anderson's secret room and the ghost town were Jo's inspiration for this debut novel. She lives with her family in Greenville, South Carolina. You can find her online at JoHackl.com.