Be sure to check out my interview with author Dan Gutman!
|TITLE: Mission Unstoppable SERIES: The Genius Files #1|
AUTHOR: Dan Gutman PUB DATE: 1/25/11
PUB: Harper Collins FORMAT: pb, 320 pgs
SOURCE: from pub. in exchange for honest review
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
THREE WORDS: What a blast!
MY REVIEW: Dan Gutman’s The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable took me on the craziest, wildest trip across the US that one can imagine…and the trip has just begun!
Twins Coke and Pepsi (Pep) McDonald are not looking forward to spending the summer in a RV with their parents, traveling across the country from California to their aunt’s wedding in Washington, D.C., then back again. They expect a long boring summer. What they get is an action packed summer spent running for their lives. After being chased off a cliff and nearly burned alive on the last day of school, Coke and Pep learn they are a part of a secret government project that enlists young geniuses and someone wants them dead. As the twins start their family summer trip, stopping at places of the unusual variety because of their mom’s website Amazing but True, they’re chased by assassins in bowler hats and find themselves in some pretty sticky situations…like in a vat of SPAM! Together the twins must solve a series of mysterious ciphers left for them and stay alive, all while keeping their parents in the dark.
Reading The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable was such a fun and enjoyable experience. Author Dan Gutman has crafted a thrilling, humorous, quirky and action packed story that will not only entertain but educate.
This is a quick, fast-paced read that will have readers on the edge of their seats and will captivate even the youngest of readers from beginning to end. The action is plentiful and wonderfully and whimsically over the top, but in the best way possible. The heroes are likable, relatable and impossible not to root for, while the bad guys are wickedly fun. The unusual, unexpected and sometimes downright odd places and things that the twins encounter on their trip will fascinate readers of all ages.
Twins Coke and Pep are awesome and endearing main characters. I loved Coke’s habit of spouting off facts stored in his photographic memory and Pep’s cipher unlocking abilities and her weird obsession with the Donner Party. Both twins are delightfully funny and sarcastic, and prove to be smart, capable individuals and I think younger readers will not only really like these characters, but want to be them (I totally want to be like Pep!). There are several adult characters that help the twins, but overall the kids really run the show, which young readers will love!
The bad guys are bad enough to be slightly scary, but bumbling enough to be entertaining. The main villain is mysterious and wicked, but in a totally enthralling way.
I really loved all the interesting places the family visits on their trip. The twins’ mother runs Amazing but True, a website that highlights all things odd and unusual, so they go to places like a Pez Musuem, a Spam Museum, a house full of oddities, and they visit the world’s two largest balls of twine! And there are actual pictures throughout the book of these very real places and things. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much I actually learned while reading this book and younger readers will learn quite a lot too, but they’ll be having so much fun and be so enchanted by the story that they won’t even realize how educational it is…very, very sneaky Dan Gutman ;)
The book is also interactive and includes little boxes with directions on how to map the family’s trip on Google Maps as they move from city to city, that way readers can virtually go on the trip too. There are also several puzzles in the margins of certain pages, just like the puzzles the twins have to figure out and I had fun decoding them too.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS: I had so much fun traveling the US with Coke and Pep, joining them on their exciting adventures and I think readers of all ages (but especially the MG audience) will too. This is a great first book in what is sure to be an awesome series, and I will definitely be reading more.