Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman

Coke and Pepsi McDonald think they are just ordinary kids. But they start to expect that they're not when mysterious villains chase them, things blow up, and someone who might or might not be helping them pretty much throws them off a cliff. They quickly discover they're part of a secret project that recruits kids to be secret agents. Racing across the United States...

Oh, blah, I can't summarize any more. I tried to like this one. I really did. I even ended up with multiple ARCs! But I just couldn't. It was like someone handed Gutman a list of "things to include in an exciting adventure story for middle grade kids".

Weird names for the characters? Check.
Weird but very smart special abilities? Check
Exaggerated and ridiculous villains? Check
Mysterious adults who might or might not be helpful? Check
Special quirky thing in plot? Check (this would be the weird landmarks thing)

It felt more goofy than adventurous and I have so many "kids discover their part of a secret society and have to save the world" books that this is overkill.

Verdict: Although I didn't like this one, a lot of kids probably will - they don't mind reading the same story over and over again. Buy it if you have lots of Gutman fans at your library, or kids who like this type of adventure. I prefer Michael Buckley's Nerds series and we already have a lot of this kind of adventure fiction, so I'll pass.

ISBN: 9780061827648; Published January 2011 HarperCollins; ARC received from publisher at ALA Midwinter 2011 and from LT Early Reviewers

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