Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Monday, October 26, 2015


by M.M. Vaughan
From the publisher:
"* Kirkus Starred *
Parker and his sister will do whatever it takes to find their father in this adventure packed with action and mystery from the author of The Abilityand Mindscape.

Parker and his family share a secret: they can, with the help of advanced technology, communicate between themselves through their thoughts.

When Parker, his dad, and sister Emma move to New York three years after his mother's death, Parker is having a hard time. He misses London and his friends, his father is distracted with his new job, and Emma is looking out for him instead of the other way around.

And then Parker's dad, on the cusp of a technological breakthrough, is kidnapped. Thanks to a message his dad sent via thoughts before the signal cut off, Parker is suddenly on a rescue mission. Now Parker and Emma, along with their friend Michael and Polly the pig, must find this person - the only link to their father; but the search asks more questions than it answers. But all the signs point to one thing: the company his dad works for is up to something big. Huge. A perfectly sinister project that threatens far more than Parker's family. A project called SIX.

* Kirkus - Starred Review *

Three kids, a pet pig and a helpful chauffeur must unravel a mystery of cosmic proportions.

Twelve-year-old Parker is struggling with his family’s move from England to upstate New York. Parker has a new nemesis. His inventor father has mounting job stress. Only his 10-year-old sister, Emma, seems to be acclimating. With a specialized program for the deaf at their school, friends and a new pet pig, she is thrilled. Keeping secrets in the Banks family is difficult, thanks to his father’s invention, which allows each of them to hear one another’s thoughts—but Parker’s father is hiding something from his family that could change everything if it comes to light. When Parker and Emma’s father disappears, the two siblings enlist Michael, a fellow victim of bullying and an uber-wealthy computer genius, to help them find him. Unfortunately the only people willing to lend a hand are a conspiracy theorist and a patient at a psychiatric hospital. Creative details, likable characters—Brendan, Michael’s chauffeur, stands out especially—and an X-Files–worthy mystery keep the pages turning, but it is the supportive and loving Banks family that makes this story shine. A surprise ending will encourage readers to think beyond the text and grapple with some real-world dilemmas.

Inventive, entertaining and thought-provoking."

I am going to keep my eye on this author. I really enjoyed her first book, The Ability , and now I really liked this one. I was just talking to someone the other day about how the science fiction genre so often contains no science. That is not the case in this one. Science abounds, and it is very interesting science. There was a lot of action and suspense surrounding the science, and the children in the story have to go to great lengths to uncover secrets about the firm their father worked for. 

I liked the characters of Parker, Emma and their dad. I found it refreshing to have a deaf character who was never treated like a person with a disability. Emma is tough, loyal, compassionate and fiercely devoted to animals and the environment. Parker is believable as a boy who is just trying to survive a new school and bullying. Dr. Banks is a loving father with a tremendous amount of stress and pressure on him that the children don't understand. They have no idea that everything he is doing is to keep them safe, so it is sad when they resent him and all the time he takes away from them on his work. Another character, the new friend Michael, has kind of an Artemis Fowl feel to him. Not in a bad way (I can't stand Artemis Fowl), but because he had unlimited resources, computer genius, absent parents, and servants who would do whatever he said. Add all of those characters to an interesting plot, and we have ourselves a winner. Middle school students should love this one! 

Areas of concern:
*Grief over a lost mother/wife.
*A kidnapped father leaving 2 children on their own.

Suggested Ages:
Booklist - Grades 5-8
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 8-12

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