Booklist starred (March 15, 2012 (Vol. 108, No. 14))
Grades 3-7. This whimsical debut takes readers to the town of Remarkable, which is the most perfectly perfect town in the world, filled with extraordinarily talented citizens, the best organic fruit jelly, and amazing weather. And then there is Jane. Plain Jane is 10 years old, of medium height, and rather forgettable: “if she were a color, she’d be beige or maybe clear.” While the rest of the children in town, including her genius brother (a photorealistic portrait painter) and sister (a mathematician), attend Remarkable’s School for the Remarkably Gifted, Jane is the only student enrolled in the public school. But Jane’s dull life takes an exciting turn when the devious Grimlet twins wreak havoc and a sweet-toothed pirate named Captain Rojo Herring arrives. Add in a psychic pizza-maker, more stinky pirates, a Loch Ness Monster–type lake dweller, and a search for a missing composer, and you’ve got one seriously fun romp. With the help of Grandpa John, the only other overlooked member of the family, Jane learns something important: “the best things in life are often quite ordinary.” Filled with clever wordplay, wholly unique situations, outlandish characters (with names like Penelope Hope Adelaide Catalina), and short, plot-propelling chapters, Foley’s novel is a remarkable middle-grade gem.