My Especially Weird Week with Tess

It’s the first day of the holidays and Sam is roaming the island of Texel, imagining what it’d feel like to be the last person on earth. Then, like a whirlwind, 12-year-old islander Tess swoops into his life. Sam’s only option is to go along for the ride.

Soon he’s dancing the waltz, burying a pet canary and coming up with an especially weird plan to help Tess find her father, who doesn’t even know she exists. Along the way, Sam discovers the true meaning of family and what it is to be alive. One thing’s for sure – this is a holiday he’ll never forget.

Translated by David Colmer
Illustrated by David Dean
Rock the Boat, 2023
Ages: 10+
ISBN13: 9780861542987


[Woltz’s] imagination and ability to convey complicated family dynamics is unmatched in books for this age group… My Especially Weird Week with Tess has already become one of my favourite summer adventure stories.

Alex O'Connell, The Times Children’s Book of the Week

From one day’s eclectic activities to the next, the story’s pace never falters, while Sam’s observations and earnest, occasionally clueless responses to new situations add to the narrative’s charm...This novel is fresh, amusing, and rewarding.

Booklist, starred review

This funny, award-winning novel by Dutch writer Woltz is original and touching — and has two wonderfully memorable characters… The two complicated children build an unlikely but honest bond... while learning that being different from others can be something to celebrate.

Sally Morris, Daily Mail

This novel is a heart-warming, life-affirming read about the importance of family and community, featuring two delightful protagonists who can only be their wonderful, original selves.

Charlotte Eyre, The Bookseller, Book of the Month

Tess’s conflicted feelings about her father and Sam’s preoccupation with death’s realities are deftly handled, and Sam’s relationships with his family, particularly his brother, are realistically flawed and filled with love.

Publishers Weekly

I loved this. Deep and serious themes dealt with in such a sunlit, funny and enchanting way. A complete delight.

Anthony McGowan, author of Dogs of the Deadlands

One (especially weird) week is enough to change your life. I loved spending a week with Sam and Tess in this fast-paced, heart-warming novel. Woltz has a wonderful gift for tackling serious issues with just the right amount of tenderness and humour. All the quirky characters in this book will stay with you long after the last page. Hugely enjoyable.

Jaco Jacobs, author of A Good Day for Climbing Trees

Sam and Tess’s charming story comes and goes too fast, much like that unforgettable vacation that you never want to end. I absolutely adored this!

Tanya Guerrero, author of All You Knead Is Love

What a treat this book is! Vibrant, fast paced, and fresh, its characters leap off the page... A rich and rewarding read that makes me hope to see more of this author’s work becoming available to English readers.

Joy Court, LoveReading4Kids