Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes (Paperback)

By Mary E. Lambert

Scholastic Press, 9780545931991, 256pp.

Publication Date: April 24, 2018

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (2/28/2017)

List Price: 7.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A novel about throwing things out -- and letting people in.

Annabelle has a secret . . . a secret so big she won't allow friends within five miles of her home. Her mom collects things. Their house is overflowing with stuff. It gives Annabelle's sister nightmares, her brother spends as much time as he can at friends' houses, and her dad buries himself in his work.

So when a stack of newspapers falls on Annabelle's sister, it sparks a catastrophic fight between their parents--one that might tear them all apart--and Annabelle starts to think that things at home finally need to change.

Is it possible for her to clean up the family's mess? Or are they really, truly broken?

Mary E. Lambert's moving and heart-breakingly funny debut novel about the things we hold dear--and the things we let go--will resonate with anyone whose life has ever felt just a little too messy.

About the Author

Mary E. Lambert is a middle school English teacher at a charter school in Tempe, Arizona. Last summer, she graduated from the Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in children's writing. This is her first novel. Visit her at or on Twitter at @MaryUncontrary.

Praise For Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes

"Annabelle's smart, perceptive voice is fresh and realistic. Well-drawn and sympathetic characters (even, eventually, Annabelle's parents) drive this immersive tale. This debut story is a standout." -- Kirkus Reviews

"This poignant tale with an authentic and memorable narrator will resonate with many young readers -- whether they have personal experiences with hoarding or not. Move this to the top of the realistic fiction purchase list in libraries serving middle graders." -- School Library Journal

"Gutsy and affecting. A believably hopeful ending reinforces the story's call to face problems rather than hide or run from them, and to ask for help from others -- especially family." -- Publishers Weekly

"Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes is a heartfelt exploration of family and friendship, adolescence and sisterhood; it is a touching and real portrait of the beautiful mess that love and life can sometimes be." -- Dan Gemeinhart, author of The Honest Truth

"Brave, honest and heartfelt. With grace and humor, the author tackles the overlooked subject of hoarding and gives us a loving portrait of a family in the process of healing." -- Phoebe Stone, author of The Boy on Cinnamon Street