Jo Watson Hackl - Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe

“A tale of adventure, full of mystery.”—Robert Beatty, New York Times bestselling author of Serafina and the Black Cloak

“An unforgettable story about a gutsy girl who will steal your heart.”—Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces

Join us when children's middle-grades book author Jo Watson Hackl returns to Octavia Books to present and sign the new paperback edition of fun novel, Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe.


11 days. 13 clues. And one kid who won’t give up. Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe is “part treasure hunt, part wilderness adventure, and all heart” -Alan Gratz, New York Times bestselling author of Refugee

How far would you go to find something that might not even exist?

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. If it exists. And if she can find it.

Cricket’s first 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.

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.


Event date: 

Saturday, August 24, 2019 - 1:30pm

Event address: 

Octavia Books - 513 Octavia Street - New Orleans, LA 70115
Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399557415
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yearling - July 30th, 2019

12-year-old Cricket and a field cricket named Charlene find adventure in an overgrown ghost town in Electric City, Mississippi. They follow a thirty-year-old clue trail left by an eccentric artist in search of a secret room that may or may not exist–all to try to win back Cricket’s run-away mother. Cricket must use her wits and just a smidgen of luck to live off the land in a Mississippi winter and put together the pieces of an increasingly baffling puzzle. As she works toward uncovering the final clues, Cricket meets the reclusive last resident of the ghost town, enlists the help of a poetry-loving dog, and takes up a touch of grave-robbing.

Event Type Terms: