Friday, March 8, 2013

The Genius Files

Mission Unstoppable 
As soon as school lets out for the summer, twelve year old twins Coke and Pepsi are going on a cross country RV trip with their parents from San Fransisco to Washington D.C.  for their Aunts wedding.  Little do they know there is a lot in store for them before they will even arrive at their destination. For instance, by walking home from school rather than taking the school bus they end up having this guy wearing a bowler hat follow them in a golf cart.  Trying to escape, Coke and Pepsi race to the top of a cliff only to have bowler hat guy try and shoot  tranquilizing darts at them.  This results in the twins jumping off of that cliff in order to escape.  If that isn't enough, the twins even land in afterschool detention with their crazy health teacher and the school mysteriously catches on fire with them trapped inside.  If the twins didn't know any better someone seems to be out to get them, but who and why?

 I liked the characters of Coke and Pepsi.  Even the names just glide.  I bet your thinking they were named after soft drinks, well you'd only be half way right.  You'll just have to read the story to see what the other one is named after.  I also liked that each of the twins has abilities that seem realistic. Coke with his photographic memory and ability to recall things instantaneously and  Pepsi's  "feelings" that allow her to sense when she is being followed as well as her ability to complete ciphers.  Of the two, I think Coke's would be my first choice.  School would have been a whole lot easier with that ability.  Overall, this is an enjoyable book there are the wonderful additions of real life images, map directions, lists of places that are most likely in the Guinness Book of World Records or at least on a website that the twins mom runs called "Amazing But True" (A sampling of the places they visit includes the largest ball of twine, a YoYo Museum, House on the Rock and even the Pez dispenser factory).  Although, I never followed the Mapquest like directions or Goggled the locations, it was very nice to have something tangible to look at while reading the story.  I also think the information presented about each of these places was never boring and the author found a way to  intertwine it into the plot.  This is the kind of story that opens itself up for further educational exploration with lesson plans about some of the places visited or even to just use the ciphers to create your own.  I should mention that my child and I both read the book and collaborated on the review.  This was one book that we discussed for a few days with each of us talking about our likes and dislikes.  When I put on my parent hat, the things I disliked were kids driving an RV and the numerous attempts at killing the twins.  From a child's perspective the book was "awesome but why did each chapter have to give away spoilers in the chapter title?"   I should also mention that the reading of Book 2 Never Say Genius has already begun.  Both books were purchased, so I guess at some point I'll be reviewing Book 2.  Overall four out of five.  


  1. I love this book. I reviewed it last year and was lucky enough to interview Dan Gutman. Good review. I'll be looking forward to your review of Book 2!

    1. We really enjoyed the book, about halfway through Book 2 at the moment. I really liked your interview with Dan Gutman, he has a way of writing for children. Thanks for stopping by.

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