Book Reviews

Review: It Happened on Saturday by Sydney Dunlap

It Happened on Saturday is a story that, unfortunately, becomes even more relevant. Talking about child trafficking, Dunlap’s debut is a great conversation starter about internet safety and friendship. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Thirteen-year-old Julia would much rather work with horses at the rescue barn than worry about things like dating and makeup. But when her BFF meets a boy at camp, Julia’s determined not to get left behind. After a makeover from her older sister, she posts a picture of herself online and gets a comment from Tyler―a seemingly nice kid who lives across town. As they DM more and more, Julia’s sure that Tyler understands her in a way her family never has. Even better, their relationship earns her tons of attention at school.

Then Julia finds out Tyler’s true plan, and her world is turned upside down. She fiercely guards her secret, but could her silence allow her friends to fall into the same trap?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

It Happened on Saturday is a story about friendship and child trafficking. About when friendships start to change and we drift away from our relationships. We can feel so distant from someone even when we see them across a room. And for middle grade readers, those of our friends who start with their first ‘crushes’ and even dating, we can feel that distance even more acutely. So It Happened on Saturday begins so utterly relatable.

And then Dunlap weaves in a story about manipulation, on preying on these feelings. The loneliness that can cause danger. All the rocks that build up until an avalanche. While it’s terrifying, especially to consider, it’s an unfortunate danger that kids need to be aware of. And refusing to talk about it, to not present it, does not make that danger disappear. This stigma and fear only create a culture, a society, where the danger becomes more present.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

It Happened on Saturday is a story about our gut feelings, about knowing that transparency is the way towards safety. We can be so in love with this feeling of being chosen that we can overlook the danger. Media and internet literacy is such an important conversation to have with kids. And this book is a fabulous conversation starter. It also revolves around this entirely universal feeling we can have where we want to do something to be cool, to feel grown up, and the risks and dangers we face.

Find It Happened on Saturday on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.


What’s a middle grade you think everyone should read?

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