December 8, 2021

ARC REVIEW: Relatively Normal Secrets by C.W. Allen

Relatively Normal Secrets by C.W. Allen

Rating: 4 Stars

Release Date: September 7, 2021

Format: eARC

Publisher: Cinnabar Moth Publishing

This review was featured on Twinkl in their 'Fantasy Books For Kids - Why They Are Important' article

Check out my review of the second book in the series, The Secret Benefits of Invisibility!

“Normal is relative.”

Relatively Normal Secrets by C.W. Allen is an innovative, fast-paced middle-grade fantasy adventure suitable for readers of all ages. The author caught my attention quite early on in the book. I found myself committed to following the journey of Zed, Tuesday, and their loyal (if a bit disobedient) canine companion Nyx. 

Every child, at some point in their life, has thought their parents were weird. With no clue about what their parents do for work and no family history to speak of, Zed and Tuesday Furst are convinced that something is off. When their parents leave for a trip and armed intruders with shapeshifting weapons come barrelling into their house hours later, the siblings quickly discover that their parents have been hiding more secrets than they could have ever imagined. So much for being normal...

Zed and Tuesday are siblings, and as much as they might bicker they ended up balancing each other out. As someone with a sibling of my own, I enjoyed seeing their teamwork and how they became closer over the course of the story. Zed’s lists throughout the book were quite enjoyable and informative. It helped keep track of all the information that was being given out in scenes where there was a lot of backstory and world-building. 

I loved the feel of the book. Equal parts fantasy, and equal parts almost futuristic sci-fi. Falinnheim is a world that has both modern components (like holograms) and more medieval components. It was quite humorous to watch Zed and Tuesday stumble their way through the world (i.e. when they discover the currency is “minutes”). There’s also a mystery component to the book, as Zed and Tuesday must decipher the clues being left for them throughout their journey. The mystery was quite easy for me to decipher (I’m in my twenties). However, I can see that the target audience of middle-grade readers would have fun trying to piece various clues together. 

Overall, Relatively Normal Secrets is a fantastic choice for fantasy and mystery readers young and old. I can’t wait for the sequel, so I can see what’s next for the Furst family and Falinnheim! Thank you to the author C.W. Allen, Cinnabar Moth Publishing, and Prism Book Tours for my complimentary review copy. I voluntarily read and reviewed Relatively Normal Secrets; this does not affect the context of my review or my opinion of the book. 

About the Book

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Tuesday and Zed Furst are perfectly normal children with perfectly strange parents. Their father won't discuss his job, their mother never leaves the house without her guard dog, and the topic of the family tree is off limits.

When a last minute "business trip" gets the adults out of the way, Zed and Tuesday decide to get to the bottom of things once and for all. Too bad some thugs with shape-shifting weapons have other ideas. Their escape leaves them trapped in the modern-meets-medieval Falinnheim, where everyone insists their father is a disgraced fugitive. They hope whoever is leaving them coded clues may have some answers, but they're not sure they're going to like what they learn.

If they ever want to see their parents again, they'll need the help of a smuggler with a broken compass, their unusually talented dog, some extremely organized bandits, and a selection of suspiciously misquoted nursery rhymes.

Zed and Tuesday may not have all the answers, but one thing is certain: when it comes to normal, everything is relative.

About the Author C.W. Allen


C.W. Allen is a Nebraskan by birth, a Texan by experience, a Hoosier by marriage, and a Utahn by geography. She knew she wanted to be a writer the moment she read The Westing Game at age twelve, but took a few detours along the way as a veterinary nurse, an appliance repair secretary, and a homeschool parent.

She recently settled in the high desert of rural Utah with her husband, their three children, and a noisy flock of orphaned ideas. Someday she will create literary homes for all of them. (The ideas, not her family.)

Keep up with her latest projects at her website:

She is much funnier on Twitter than in person:

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