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Author: Korman, Gordon
Volume one--A group of kids discovers they were cloned from the DNA of some of the greatest criminal masterminds in history for a sociological experiment.
Masterminds, V. 1
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 171642
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 16.0 Quiz: 65461
Kirkus Reviews (11/15/14)
School Library Journal (11/01/14)
Booklist (+) (12/15/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (03/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2014 Gr 4–6—Serenity, New Mexico is an idyllic community for all its inhabitants. Everyone has everything they need and no one lies. As the local newspaper boasts, "Serenity Voted #1 in USA for standard of living." Eli has always been happy with his life and never had any reason to want to leave. One day though, while on a bike ride past the outskirts of town with his best friend Randy, Eli begins to feel sick. When he recovers from his illness he discovers that Randy, who convinced him to ride out, has to leave town. Randy tells everyone that he is going to his grandparents' house, but he is acting strange and no longer wants to hang out with Eli. After Randy leaves, Eli finds a note that makes him realize this may not be the perfect town after all. Eli and a few friends begin to uncover secrets and discover that honesty may not be at the heart of Serenity. They also realize that they can't trust anyone, especially not their parents. Korman has created a fun and creative story that delves into the philosophy of what makes us human and whether or not we are defined by our circumstances. Told in alternating voices, readers will get insight into life in Serenity and make life-changing discoveries with the characters. This unique and action-packed story is filled with twists and turns that readers will not see coming. A wonderful start to what promises to be a thrilling series.—Kristyn Dorfman, The Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn, NY - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 12/15/2014 *Starred Review* Tiny Serenity, New Mexico, is idyllic as it gets—everyone has a job and a home, the kids are well behaved, and the genial community spirit is intoxicating. Sure, it’s boring, and it’s suspicious that a town of 185 people has its own helicopter-equipped security force, but 13-year-old Eli is content. That is, until his misbehaving friend Randy gets sent away. Eli’s sure there’s something screwy going on, and his suspicions are confirmed when he and his friends investigate the town’s factory. Using their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, they discover that it’s not traffic cones they manufacture there, but the truth. Korman cleverly constructs Serenity as a kind of stand-in for pearl-clutching attitudes about children—the history lessons exclude rebellion and any antiauthoritarian notions, and the kids don’t even know what murder means. But learning they have been lied to is worse, and in alternating first-person perspectives, they explore thought-provoking questions about honesty and struggle with the dastardly, life-altering secrets that may change who they are. The compelling, twisty mystery has a truly gratifying payoff, and the emotional depth of the characters, not to mention the steadily building pace, will keep readers engaged to the final page, which happily lays the groundwork for a sequel. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Korman is no stranger to the New York Times best-seller list, and with a hefty marketing campaign behind this one, don’t be surprised if he pops up on the list again. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2015 The kids in Serenity, New Mexico-all thirty of them-are aware they’ve got it good. Their tiny community of under 200 is ranked the best town in America: amenities are excellent, community spirit is strong, and employment is at a hundred percent-with all parents working in small businesses, town services, or Serenity’s single industry, a plant that makes plastic traffic cones. Of course, there’s always one complainer, and classmates dismiss Malik’s continual grousing and dreams to move someday to a big city. Opinions shift drastically when Eli and Randy take a bike ride just outside the town limits to check out an abandoned classic car; Eli is stricken with unbearable headache and nausea, the boys are rescued by helicopter, Eli recovers immediately upon his return, and Randy is abruptly sent away to his grandparents-or at least, that’s the cover story. Randy manages to get a note to Eli voicing his suspicions that something fishy is going on in Serenity, and it has to do with children who are “special.” Eli, Malik, and three other kids join forces to investigate oddities surrounding the cone factory and uncover a cabal that involves all the adults in Serenity, as well as a shocking revelation about just how “special” some of Serenity’s kids really are. The ever-readable Korman has a winner of a middle-grades thriller going here, and it will be an easy sell. It’s got a steadily accelerating plot and rising stakes, a keenly individuated ensemble cast, and a witty cliffhanger that will have readers bouncing on their heels for the next installment. EB - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.