Friday, July 12, 2019

The Drone Pursuit (Tom Swift: Inventors' Academy #1)

Appleton, Victor. The Drone Pursuit (Tom Swift: Inventors' Academy #1)
Published July 2nd 2019 by Aladdin
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Tom Swift is a students at the academy started by his father (who must be the great grandson of Tom Swift and the grandson of Tom Swift, Jr.). The students are all technologically savvy, and the curriculum allows a lot of exploration. Tom and his friend Noah have a drone that they use to spy on others in the hallway, which isn't common, but isn't punished, either. When the school servers go down, a substitute shows them a video of famous hackers, and the boys become convinced that the school custodian s actually a much wanted hacker, Shadow Hawk. When their drone uncovers some interesting things in the school basement and the custodian starts to act suspiciously, they up their investigation, finding computers with code streaming on them and a more widespread conspiracy than they imagined when it comes to the school computers. Can the boys, along with classmates Sam and Amy, figure out why there is no information anywhere online about the custodian and who is compromising the school computers?
Strengths: Tom is a well meaning, good kid who doesn't take advantage of his family's position. He supports his friends, and is willing to take the blame when they get in trouble. Cyber crime is a real threat, and there are not enough books that depict it. Kids saving the day is always a good thing, and there's a little bit of a twist with the actual culprit (although I did see it coming). It's good to have an inventors' academy and children interested in science.
Weaknesses: This just didn't have the cheesy goodness of international terrorists stealing uranium and Tom busting them by using fantastical inventions. I can buy a drone at Best Buy, but I don't think they have Megascope Space Probers!  While there is an attempt at a diverse cast, to quote from the Kirkus review "Tom and Sam present white; Noah presents black, and Amy presents Asian." Other than names and physical descriptions, there is nothing to otherwise indicate diversity. 
What I really think: Like the Club CSI books, this is a series (upcoming) that has a light mystery, some action, and is told with humor. I can see it being very popular with reluctant 6th grade readers. I was just a bit disappointed that it wasn't more like the fun, pot boiler originals. #MGLit could use more pot boilers!

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