Korman, Gordon. Unleashed (Swindle #7)
January 6th 2015 by Scholastic Press
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Griffin Bing is back, and this time he has been challenged to compete in the Invent-a-Palooza by the evil Darren Vader. Darren has the help of one of his mother's clients for his invention, and Griffin only has his father's limited talents as an inventor. Along with Ben and Logan, Griffin works on a quiet small appliance motor, which they make by wrapping a vacuum cleaner motor in flame retardant pajamas. This quiets the motor, but makes all of the power go out in the house-- except to the vacuum cleaner! Meanwhile, Melissa comes up with a drone that keeps Savannah's massive dog, Luther, from chasing an extermination van, and Pitch, who is angry that girls aren't allowed on the wrestling team, champions her cause. When Melissa's invention is stolen, the group suspects a mean new neighbor who won't let them cut through his yard, and try to figure out how to get the invention back before the competition. Of course, some daring and dangerous break ins are planned, Ferret Face is put to good use as a spy animal, and Logan gets to do some acting.
Strengths: Korman totally rocks middle grade, no matter what it is. I looked at this and thought "Oh, no. Book seven?" but than enjoyed it and was able to keep the characters straight and understand the plot. No small feat, and a good reason why Korman is so popular with middle school students.
Weaknesses: Eight books is more than long enough for a series, especially when Scholastic invariably publishes them in paper-over-board format. I'd rather see this one wrapped up, and see Korman delight us with something new!