The Vanderbeekers Make A Wish: 01/03/23
The Vanderbeekers Make A Wish by Karina Yan Glaser (2021) is the fifth book in the Vanderbeekers series. Papa is turning forty this year but he's called out of state on an emergency. The kids decide to plan his surprise party in his absence.
But that's just the first thing they have to contend with. Mama's parents and sister show up uninvited. Grandma is stern, opinionated and hard to please. Grandpa has very little to say and would probably prefer to spend his time doing tai-chi in the back garden.
Finally, there is a family mystery in the form of a letter found in an old coat. It's from Pop-Pop who died just before Papa graduated from college. His letter leads the children on a quest to learn everything they can about a road trip he had been planning with Papa.
The novel ebbs and flows between these three plot threads. Although Mama's parents, her mother especially, act as foils for the children and their plans, they provide a long overdue insight into the family as a whole. Mama's intense mother grew that way for the same reason that Jason's father did in Kelly Yang's Front Desk series.
The sixth book, The Vanderbeekers on the Road (2022) follows right on the heels of this book's conclusion.