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Author: Rylander, Chris
When a desperate man in a nondescript black suit asks thirteen-year-old Carson Fender to deliver a mysterious package for him, the middle schooler discovers there's something going on in his sleepy North Dakota hometown he had never expected--something involving the CIA.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 168410
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 17.0 Quiz: 63277
Common Core Standards
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Kirkus Reviews (12/15/13)
School Library Journal (04/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (03/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2014 Carson Fender is just doing what he does best—pulling off an epic middle-school prank—when a black-suited man desperately thrusts a package into his hands, directs him to deliver it unopened to Mr. Jensen, and is then abducted by two pasty-faced men in a dark SUV. The first problem is that there are two Mr. Jensens on staff at Eric Hill Middle School; the second problem is that Carson can’t resist opening the package, which contains a device that launches a countdown to its own self-destruction. The game is afoot, and Carson is promptly drawn into a top secret, extra-governmental, world-saving organization that’s taking on a raft of bad guys working behind the scenes at a traveling carnival. This seriocomic action story struggles to amalgamate several subgenres—spy parody (both Mr. Jensens are with The Agency), friendship story (schoolmate Olek, in the witness protection program, turns into a true pal), and thriller (threatened lives and battered bodies twist lightweight comedy into real peril), making the overall tone of this series opener somewhat chaotic. Moreover, even readers who easily suspend disbelief will find the Fender family’s apparent obliviousness to Carson’s leg cast and bandages (results of the big climax) hard to swallow. The central premise of a middle-school populated by undercover agents is a promising one, though, and kids who like to settle into a series will be happy to know there’s more to come. EB - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2014 Gr 6–8—Carson is a perpetually bored seventh grader who satisfies his craving for action by orchestrating increasingly elaborate pranks at school. One day, he is handed a mysterious package and told he must deliver it—but not open it under any circumstances!—and suddenly life becomes anything but boring. The package is connected to a top-secret government agency, which recruits Carson to protect one of his classmates and foil the plans of a terrorist organization. Excitement builds as Carson—codename Zero—and his quirky friends put together the puzzle as only a team of plucky, imaginative kids can. Carson and his friends are funny and likable, and the pacing of the story is just right. The action steadily builds to a climax that satisfies, yet also whets the appetite for a sequel. Good for reluctant readers, and for any kid who likes tales of action, mischief, and friendship.—Emma Burkhart, Springside School, Philadelphia, PA - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.