praise for CNS

Praise for Code Name: Serendipity

“For anyone who doesn’t already know that dogs are magic, this book will make you a believer. Amber Smith crafts a heartwarming story that will have you cheering for the power of a bond between a girl and her dog. Simply perfect.”

Megan Shepherd, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Horses of Briar Hill

“Tender-hearted and triumphant, this uplifting story shows the many kinds of ways to be lost and found. I couldn’t put it down.”

Gillian McDunn, acclaimed author of Caterpillar Summer and The Queen Bee and Me

“Smith hews closely to the perspective of her eleven-year-old protagonist, tenderly portraying her challenges—the shame of having an IEP, possibly losing a friend to a move, and witnessing her grandfather struggle with dementia—as well as her solutions: rescuing and hiding a dog. Code Name: Serendipity is a heartwarming story about the friendships found in unexpected places, family relationships deepened by trials, and animals who ‘speak’ to us.”

Jenn Bishop, author of The Distance to Home and Where We Used to Roam

“Smith’s debut MG novel is a gentle and generous look at how change, even when it’s uncomfortable or painful, can lead to good if we let it. With a sweet dog, a mischievous grandpa, and a new friend, our heroine learns to balance following the rules versus following her heart, and that honesty really is the best policy when it comes to the people we love.”

Rebecca Petruck, author of Steering Toward Normal and Boy Bites Bug

Codename: Serendipity is a heartwarming story of eleven-year-old Sadie discovering that changes within the family, her friendships, and responsibilities may be complicated missions, but not impossible – especially if you have a little serendipity on your side. As the story unfolded, the characters tugged at my heart, made me laugh, and made me miss my sobo (grandma)!”

Kathleen Burkinshaw, author of The Last Cherry Blossom

“A quiet winner for animal lovers and fans of realistic fiction.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Amber Smith’s middle grade novel offers a reassuring, emotional story about a girl and her family navigating an uncertain time in their lives.”


“Smith creates three-dimensional characters and a warm family dynamic, sensitively portraying learning differences and a beloved grandparent with dementia, and exploring difficult feelings without offering easy answers. Sadie’s struggles with friendship and being taken seriously ring true, as do her sympathetic voice and heartfelt love of dogs.”

Publisher’s Weekly

“A touching tale of dogged determination and the magic in unexpected connections.”


“Charming and touching.”

School Library Journal