Monday, October 07, 2013
MMGM- Code Name 711
Don't forget to nominate books for the Cybils awards! There's only a week left, so think about the books that made you say "Wow" and made you want to hand them immediately to children to read. Then hop on over to the Cybils web site to nominate them.
Bradley, F.T. Double Vision: Code Name 711
HarperCollins, 15 October 2013
Copy received from the publisher.
After his exploits in Double Vision, Linc is content to hang out with his friends and play video games, but Agent Stark from Pandora interrupts his idyll with the news that he is needed as an agent because Ben Green, the actual agent to whom he bears a striking resemblance, is busy. He is whisked off to Washington, D.C., telling his parents he is to be part of the Junior Presidents Club. Once he gets there, he finds out that the president and her family have all been threatened, and that there is another Dangerous Double, this time a coat of invincibility worn by George Washington, tied to the threat. Linc's job is to find the double, but he soon realizes that Ben is working on this mission as well. The president's daughter manages to break away from her secret service escort to work with Linc, and they are soon traveling all over D.C. to follow clues left by the deep undercover operation, the Culper Ring. For years, they have guarded various artifacts by using agents who are so secret they don't even know the other agents' names. This makes it hard to track them down and ask them questions, even after Linc and Amy manage to break into CIA headquarters and steal a notebook with essential information, helped by Henry and his gadgets. Ben seems to be working at cross purposes, but the three kids manage to find enough information (including the identity of the high ranking turn coat!) to save the presidents' family ... for now!
Strengths: The pacing on this never drags, which is critically important. Tons of action and adventure combined with history and clues will make this appealing to students who like their mysteries a bit faster paced. The setting is vivid, and there are fun little bits like Linc being put up in a cut-rate motel. Loved that the president was a woman!
Weaknesses:Things worked out a bit too easily for Linc and his accomplices, and it strained my credulity a bit. The president's life is in danger, but they assign a kid agent to the case? They continue on with a party even though the threat is still present? Children break into the CIA? I either don't believe those things, or I am really concerned about national security. For students, however, these leaps will make the book all the more enjoyable. If there were a book about a middle aged librarian using her ninja skills to break into the CIA, I would totally believe THAT!
Note on genre: Since the Dangerous Doubles are portrayed as have real powers (in the first book, a painting can hypnotize people, and in this book a jacket makes people invincible, evidenced in a crucial culminating event), this book has to be considered fantasy.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday, with the Round Up this week at Shelf Employed.