Bradley, F.T. Double Vision
16 October 2012, HarperCollins
Heh. This book starts on the Friday before Thanksgiving break!
Linc is one of those kids who means well but is constantly in trouble. When he and his friend Daryl "accidentally" let out a bunch of chickens when their class is on a field trip to a chicken farm, it's the last straw. The farmer wants to sue his family (which is struggling already), the school wants to expel him, and he's an international sensation on YouTube with bird poop on his head. This draws him to the attention of "a top secret special ops team called Pandora" that realizes he is a dead ringer for one of their kid agents, Benjamin Green. Ben is missing in France, where a "evil Mona Lisa" has been stolen from a baker's family. This painting can hypnotize crowds of people, and Pandora is worried that it will fall into the wrong hands. Linc's parents are told that if he goes into a "boot camp", he'll be off the hook for damages, and he is whisked off to France, quickly trained, and plopped smack dab in the middle of intrigue and adventure. Francois, the daughter of the baker HATES Ben, because she feels he is responsible for her father's disappearance. The two are able to follow clues that the father leaves, and uncover double agencts, double crossing, and a lot of danger!
Strengths: This book did not wast a minute sucking me in. The field trip is short but disastrous, I could believe the agents' excuses and his parents' submission in letting him go. Even the kid agents and quick training seemed plausible. Pitch perfect for middle school boys. Definitely ordering a copy.
Weaknesses: I'm not a huge fan of clue oriented mysteries, and this does have a path of clues that have to be found and followed, but it wasn't belabored. Don't think students will mind.