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One Mixed-Up Night: 12/30/17

One Mixed-Up Night by Catherine Newman

One Mixed-Up Night by Catherine Newman takes its inspiration from the From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by EL Konigsburg and the allure of the Ikea showroom. Told from the point of view of Frankie, it's about the disastrous night she and her best friend Walter tried to spend in Ikea after closing.

The book opens with the night about to come to a bad end. Rather than playing through the consequences of being unsupervised in a store after hours and being destructive to boot, the story rewinds to the events that lead up to them being caught. I've mentioned before how I find this type of story telling lazy and frustrating. Just surprise me by starting at the beginning. Or if you want the hook to be them getting caught — tell me how their lives are now different because of their stupidity.

Claudia and Jamie's time in the museum isn't one night of mayhem. It's over the course of days. Claudia's reasons for being there are more nuanced than Frankie's and she treats the place she's squatting in with more respect than the pair in One Mixed-Up Night. There's a better one night caper in Ikea included in the first third of Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts by Esta Spalding, where the Fitzgerald-Trouts try living in an Ikea because they are desperate for housing, not because they think it would be a fun place to thrash.

Three stars

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