Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Fiction Friendship

The Undercover Book List

by (author) Colleen Nelson

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Sep 2021
Friendship, Books & Libraries, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, School & Education
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7



He's known as the class troublemaker. She's known as the bookworm. But when every note they send is anonymous, identity is suddenly what they make it.

Between her father's posting overseas and her best friend Sienna's move to the other side of the country, seventh grade is looking lonely for Jane MacDonald. But Sienna has left her with one last trick: a hidden message in a library book—the perfect plot to start a secret club and find Jane a new book-loving friend.

Tyson Flamand has problems of his own. Since the fourth grade he's had a reputation as a bad kid, and there's no point fighting it when teachers always think the worst. So when he finds an anonymous note in the library looking for a nerdy new friend, he knows he's the last person in the world it could be meant for. But something makes him answer it anyway, and Tyson finds himself pulled into a secret book club where being hidden may be the first step to being truly seen.

With the insight of a veteran middle-school teacher, Colleen Nelson, author of the award-winning Harvey Comes Home and Sadia, weaves together two stories of identity, expectation, and the courage to challenge both. As their paths move ever closer, Jane and Tyson both discover their own self-reliance and their ability to overcome obstacles that seemed insurmountable.


About the author

An author and junior high school teacher who also enjoyed many years of teaching kindergarten, Colleen Nelson earned her Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba in her hometown of Winnipeg. Her previous works include the critically-acclaimed middle-grade novels Harvey Comes Home and Harvey Holds His Own; Sadia, which won the 2019 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award; and Blood Brothers, which was selected as the 2018 McNally Robinson Book of the Year for Young People. Colleen writes daily in between appearances at hockey rinks and soccer fields in support of her two sports-loving sons. The family’s West Highland Terrier Rosie adds an extra-loveable dose of liveliness, squirrel-chasing, and shoe-chewing to their lives.


Colleen Nelson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Undercover Book List

“Told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of seventh graders Jane and Tyson, this story unfolds with clever aplomb… [and] a robustly diverse supporting cast…A well-plotted, well-written story that will engage readers and encourage nonreaders.”—Kirkus Reviews

“For the reluctant reader who doesn't know they're a reader yet and for those who will consume this story with gusto… The Undercover Book List brings reading out from under its nerd status into a mainstream social avocation it can be.”—CanLit for Little Canadians

“Both Jane and Tyson have challenges at home that ring true to middle-grade experiences and add depth to the character’s stories… I would recommend this story for Gr. 4-7.”—@kathiemacisaac


Other titles by Colleen Nelson

Related lists