Monday, January 3, 2011

ARC Review: The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable

The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable
Author: Dan Gutman
Publication: HarperCollins (January 25, 2011)

Description: In eight days, Coke and Pepsi McDonald are going to turn thirteen.

Before then, they'll jump off a cliff, get trapped in the locked basement of their burning school, chased cross-country by murderous lunatics, left for dead in the pit of a sand dune, forced to decipher mysterious coded messages, thrown into a giant vat of SPAM, and visit the world's largest . . . ball of twine!

There's more, but if we told you here, we'd have to kill you.

Megapopular author Dan Gutman brings on the excitement with an action-packed new series that's nothing short of dynamite. Join Coke and Pep on their quest to uncover just what it means to be part of The Genius Files . . . if you dare!

My Thoughts: This was a fun middle grade adventure with over-the-top villains and intrepid heroes. Coke and Pepsi are recruited as part of the Genius Files by eccentric scientist Dr. Warsaw. 

The kids have tons of adventures as they travel with their parents in an RV across the country from California to Washington, DC. The parents are somewhat eccentric too. Their father is an American History professor who has a tendency to throw out important mail - like the letter inviting the kids to be part of the Genius Files. Their mother runs a website that highlights American oddities called Amazing But True. She encourages the family to make stops at a lot of interesting museums like the Pez museum, the Frisbee museum, the Singing Sands, the SPAM museum, and the Bonneville Salt Flats. The kids dodge the same persistent villains in many of these locations. And, let's not forget the stops at two of the world's largest balls of twine. One is in Cawker, Kansas and the other is in my state at Darwin, Minnesota.

Readers are encouraged to use Google Maps to see the route that the family takes on their journey. The kids also find and decipher various ciphers along the way. All leading to a final showdown at The House on the Rocks.

But all is not ended, the adventure will continue in Part II of the Genius Files. I think middle graders will like the humor, the adventure, and may even learn something about attractions in the United States by reading this book.

Favorite Quote:
For all our intelligence, our technology, and the progress we've made over the centuries, many of us would be happy to give it all up if we could only become birds. Being human is great. Nothing beats being at the top of the food chain. Opposable thumbs are handy and all for picking things up. But if only we could fly!
Check out this cool trailer:

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