Title: The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable
Author: Dan Gutman
Publisher: HarperCollins (HarperCollins Children's)
Pub Date: 01/25/2011
Reviewed from: Galley from Netgalley
Dan Gutman was our City Reads author* two years ago and while he was always popular, since then our patrons have been insatiable for him. When Netgalley gave me the opportunity to read the first book in his next series, of course I jumped at the chance! This will
*our version of one book/one community. We pick an author (preferably one who can show up and visit schools) and everyone reads that author instead of just one book)
Twins Coke and Pepsi* find out that they are part of a super secret government project called The Genius Files only when people start trying to kill them. They embark on a cross country road trip with their eccentric (and awesome) parents, try to survive, and try to figure out what the Genius Files are all about anyhow. The Genius Files isn't going to win itself a Newbery award and I'm doubt that it's going to stand the test of time and be a classic for decades to come - but that is part of what makes this book so much fun. The book encourages you to go to google maps or mapquest to track Coke and Pep's progress on their road trip, the twins google things they need to find out, and get excited about places on their trip with free wi-fi. This book has serious kid appeal and I can't wait to introduce it to my patrons!
*Yes, they know. And they've heard that joke. And that one.
Their names don't make it terribly obvious but Coke is a boy and Pepsi is a girl. Coke has a photographic memory but Pepsi has the wherewithal to be able to take all the clues they've been given and synthesize them into a working theory or crack the code or get them out of the situation. If you know me you know how much I love books where girls get to shine. Have you ever noticed how even when there's a female action hero she never gets to save the male? Either the male dies tragically or saves himself or if she does manage to save him it's not after some serious damage to him? Well Pepsi definitely gets to save Coke a few times in this book - and Coke gets to save Pep.
The writing is pure Gutman. Funny and personal and insightful. He draws you in on the first page and keeps you hanging on until the end. While not all the characters are completely fleshed out, this is the first book in what promises to be a substantial series and there are hints of fleshing out to come.
Overall I'd say your library would want this one - and you should read it yourself if you get a chance between all the holds it'll have. It'll only take you a day.