Castle, M.E. Cloneward Bound: The Clone Chronicles #2
12 February 2013, Egmont USA
Copy provided by Media Masters Publicity
Having narrowly escaped the evil Dr. X, Fisher is trying to navigate his newfound popularity (thanks to his clone, Two), debating how many thousands of years it will take until he can kiss Veronica, and dealing with his parents, who are reeling from his mother's loss of her latest research project? The reason? She's lost a centiliter of Advanced Growth Hormone... that Fisher used to create Two. When two shows up in Hollywood, posting videos of him promoting Spot Right, Fisher knows he has to bring him back. With Amanda's help, and with the fortuitous trip that his school is taking to watch the Dr. Devilish Strange Science t.v. show, he stands a good chance. Circumstances work against him, though, and with the help of Flying Pig, he comes to the attention of agents, Two, teen idols, and evil villains from his past. How can he save his mother's job without having to turn over Two, whom he has come to regard as a brother?
Strengths: This had a lot of action and adventure, set against a Hollywood background, which is always popular. There is a good balance between goofy and real middle school concerns. I loved Fisher's calculation of the factors that might lead up to Veronica kissing him. I also enjoyed the characters-- Amanda was a great strong female character, and a down-to-earth foil for Fisher's often flighty plans, FP was amusing as Fisher's Hollywood bound pet pig, and the teachers and supporting characters were silly without being over the top. The cover is a good one-- bright and fun.
Weaknesses: All objections to this are personal and because I am not twelve. When Fisher's class goes to Hollywood, he and his friends are allowed to roam freely. Since we have the eighth grade D.C. trip coming up and I will be chaperoning, all I could think was "How did he end up in a diner, with a waitress driving him back to the hotel? Argh!" We lost track of three girls in a shopping mall for five minutes, and there was widespread panic! Makes for a good story, though. Those pesky adults, keeping kids safe. Pshaw.