Books Completed: 50
Completion Date: February, 2009
Publication Date: March 7, 2007
Reason for Reading: New Author Challenge.
Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children-two boys and two girls-succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they'll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you're gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.I wasn't sure what I was going to think of this book. It sounded really good and I have read good reviews of it, but I was not sure if it was my kind of book. I am not even sure why it popped into my head the other day, but I found myself requesting it from the library. I had decided to take a chance on it and see if it was any good. For some reason I was under the impression it was for a younger reading bracket than it wound up being for, so I was surprised by the size of it when I went to pick it up. Once you get sucked into the story, though, you find that there is so much going on that it is impressive it is not a much larger book!
The book has essentially four main characters. When the book starts, we meet Reynie Muldoon. He is a very gifted orphan whose special tutor finds an ad for gifted students. The ad appears to be written to children instead of adults, which Reynie finds very odd. Looking for a chance to challenge himself, he decides to answer the ad and winds up taking some very interesting tests. He succeeds in the testing with three other children: George (Sticky) Washington, Kate Weatherhill, and Constance Contraire. Sticky is a very nervous child! He has an exceptional mind, but is often scared to use it. Kate is full of life and has lead a very entertaining life so far. She was recently in a circus, so she brings some interesting skills to the table. Then, there is Constance. She entirely lives up to her name throughout the novel, but in the end, I think she might have almost been my favourite character. She just takes a while to grow on you; like she takes a while to grow on the rest of the group. These four children go to meet the very mysterious Mr. Benedict who launches them into an adventure they won't soon forget.
I found this book enjoyable. In many ways the whole book is like a giant puzzle that you don't find out all the pieces to until the last chapter. As things start to come together, though, you find yourself quite taken up in the story. Or, at least I was. The children bring different things to the story, which works out rather well. I found that I was thinking throughout the story, so it is not exactly a 'simple' read. It is a book that will keep you are on your toes throughout. I will be very interested to see what happens in the next book, which I have sitting here to read very soon.
Another recommended read!