Book DetailsTitle: The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable
Author: Dan Gutman
Genre: Middle Grade Adventure
Page Count: 256
Publishing Info: Harper Collins, Jan. 25, 2011
Why I read it: received e-copy from Netgalley for review
The Plot: Two twins named Coke and Pepsi find that they are targets of assassins. As the plot unfolds, they find out that they are part of a secret group called The Genius Files. All of this happens as they finish up the school year and head on a cross country trip in an RV with their parents. Obviously the whole plot was fairly unbelievable, but the target audience should find it fun.
The Characters: Besides having quite possibly the most ridiculous names I've ever seen for characters, Coke and Pepsi are your regular almost teenagers (they turn 13 during the story). Except that they are both exceptionally smart. It comes off somewhat in the story, but they're not annoyingly smart, if that makes sense. Kids should be able to relate to these characters, mostly.
The Setting: This was the fun part of the story. The family sets off on a cross country trip, leaving from San Francisco and ending up in Washington D.C. (although they don't make it all the way in this book). Throughout the book the author interjects cities you can plug into google maps to follow along with them on their trip. There are also pictures throughout of the places they visited. And if that's not enough, since both Coke and his mom are lovers of useless facts, we learn a lot of things about different spots in the U.S.
Who Should Read This? This is a great book for the middle grade audience. Parents who like to read to their younger children might like this one as well, just for its silliness and fun.
Final Thoughts: I'll be honest here. If I was judging this book purely on it's entertainment level for me, I wouldn't rate it very high. It was very silly and very young, especially the humor. That being said, this book wasn't written for my age group. It was written for kids, and I think they'll really like it. So while it may not go on any favorite lists of mine, it's great for what it was meant to be: a fun adventure tale for middle grade readers.
Cover Thoughts: The cover has a cute, cartoonish look that will definitely appeal to kids.