Strong Like Me by Wendy S. Swore ~ Book Review

May 25, 2021


Wendy S. Swore
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Pages: 304

Even though twelve-year-old Alexis was born in Hawaii, she won’t surf or swim with her friends—not since the ocean and its hidden creatures swept her out to sea. Instead, she grabs her best detective hat and decodes her mom’s latest challenge. 

Alex’s mom works in counterintelligence and leaves codes, ciphers, and puzzles behind for Alex to solve, always with a “treasure” at the end. It’s a brilliant game between them, and Alex loves figuring out her mom’s puzzles—especially the tricky ones—but when an emergency at sea puts her mom in possible danger, solving the next one suddenly feels far more urgent.

 Friends help as Alex races to decipher each clue before time runs out, but when the trail leads to grumpy old Uncle, his enormous dog Sarge, and a sea turtle unlike any other, the challenge changes into something bigger than any before. With storms on the horizon and lives on the line, Alex must face her fears to solve Mom’s challenge and save those she loves. With her ohana to help, she must be strong like the sea. 

Featuring a secret ocean code with a hidden message for YOU to decipher!


This book puts you right in Hawaii and it literally comes to life. You feel like you are there. The author does a phenomenal job at transporting you there which is always great when you are reading but especially when it comes to children's books. You want them to escape in a book and that is exactly what this books does for you. Not only are you transported to Hawaii but you get to meet this amazing girl named Alex. Her parents are quite unique as her mom works for a government agency doing classified work. I thought it was neat that she would leave Alex spy type challenges when she was gone for work. Her dad however is in a constant state of worry for his wife and cannot let go of "the schedule" .Very Type A personality. If its not on "The Schedule" it isn't happening.

I felt bad for Alex. Her parents set way too high expectations and she of course wants to please them. She also sets high expectations for herself as she wants to be just like her mom. Seriously I was stressed out for her! Oh and the cherry on top she doesn't know how to swim but lives in this amazing island! 

Overall this was a great children's book. I can see this being a good read aloud or a book for older elementary to middle schoolers. The puzzles inside the book were fun to decipher and I can see how this would be enjoyable for kids. 

My Rating: 4 Stars/Great book for kids

I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

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Wendy S. Swore and her family are farmers. She writes part-time, particularly in winter when her farming chores give her time to plant seeds in her imagination. Her debut novel, A Monster Like Me, was the 2019 Gold Winner for Juvenile Fiction from Foreword Reviews. She is a member of SCBWI. 

Wendy S. Swore is the author of A Monster Like Me, nominee of the Arizona Grand Canyon Reader Award, the Oklahoma Sequoyah Award and winner of the Foreword Reviews Indie Gold Award for Juvenile Fiction. For author interview requests, please contact Callie Hansen at

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