THREEish WORDS: Boatload of Charm & DelightMY REVIEW: Reading Sheila Turnage’s MG book Three Times Lucky is like settling in on the front porch swing on a sunny day with a glass of sweet tea and a gaggle of friends and family swapping tales and jokes…relaxing, fun and nowhere else I’d rather be!Eleven years ago, during a hurricane, a baby washed up in Tupelo Landing, NC. Christened Moses “Mo” LoBeau, she has been raised by the Colonel and Miss Lana. The Colonel, whose own forgotten past is a mystery, owns the local café and Miss Lana is the hostess with flair. Mo loves Tupelo Landing, its people and her ragtag family, but still longs to find her “upstream mother”. But when a lawman comes to town, investigating a murder and one of Tupelo Landing’s own turns up dead, Mo and her BFF Dale Earnhardt Johnson III form the Desperado Detectives and set out to catch a killer and just maybe save Mo’s family. A boatload of charm and delight doesn’t really do this MG book justice; it’s more like a giant yacht full! Sheila Turnage has created one of the funniest, most delightful and heartwarming stories that I’ve read in a long while. With a completely captivating mix of humor, heart, mystery, excitement and an enchanting cast of characters, Three Times Lucky is the perfect kind of middle grade book.This book is over the top in the best way possible, touching in unexpected ways and its Southern charm is absolutely irresistible. Told from Mo’s perspective, Turnage has crafted a pitch-perfect and laugh out loud voice. The story itself is quite grand and soap operatic- what with babies washing up during hurricanes, amnesia, murders, bank robberies, lost loves, new loves, scandalous loves- but Turnage has somehow taken all these things and weaved them together to create a story that readers will want to believe in. There’s a fabulous and large cast of colorful characters and I loved every single one of them...even the bad guys. Mo LoBeau is definitely my new favorite MG heroine! With her spunky, fearless attitude, big heart, quick wit and courageous grace, she shines bright! Whether Mo is taking orders at the café, raising money for her crush, karate chopping bad guys or saving the day, she puts her whole heart into everything she does. Mo’s best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III (the “third” stands for Dale Earnhardt, the racecar driver’s infamous car number!) is a sweet, endearing sidekick with moxie of his own. The Colonel and Miss Lana are wonderful parental characters and readers will be just as addicted to their story as to Mo’s. Dale’s nineteen year old brother and Mo’s crush, Lavender, is another awesome character. I loved his interaction with Mo and how sweet he is to her. Mo swears that one day she’ll marry Lavender and they’ll have a bunch of adopted children and you know what, I wouldn’t be surprised if ten years down the road Mo did finally get that boy to fall in love with her! There are too many other characters to mention, but Turnage definitely offers readers a town full of lovable, engaging and completely eccentric characters.The mystery and intrigue are fun and exciting, while the other storylines are moving and heartwarming. There are some serious topics being explored in this book-poverty, abusive relationships, alcoholism, abandonment- and Turnage writes about these things with both sensitivity and humor, and in a way that is appropriate for younger readers but still realistic.One of the things I love most about Three Times Lucky is the fictional setting of Tupelo Landing. This small NC town may not be real, but it felt like home. Many readers may find Turnage’s made up town to be unbelievable and an exaggerated look at small southern communities, but as a resident of a small NC city myself, I can tell you that her depiction is spot on. And more importantly, it is entertaining and enjoyable! MY FINAL THOUGHTS: I loved everything about this book and cannot wait to read it again! Three Times Lucky is a fantastic MG debut full of heart, humor and superb characters. A definite MUST read!