FICTION

7th Grade Revolution

illus. by Luke Spooner. 300p. Vesuvian. Oct. 2017. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781944109462.
COPY ISBN
Gr 5–8—A fun ride that combines treasure hunting, quick thinking, Revolutionary-era U.S. history, and teamwork. The teachers announce to the seventh grade at Washington Academy Middle School that the students are now in charge of their own education. Instructional time must occur, safety must be maintained, and teachers must remain present, but everything else is up for negotiation. The students are given two days to decide their governing rules. On day two, new boy Dennis, who has an illegal police scanner app, hears that the school has been evacuated and that FBI agents are on grounds. They are looking for an artifact with information that is of great importance to the nation. He relays the information to the rest of the group. Eventually, they also look to Rhonda, a girl whose father is a survivalist, and has been teaching her that way of life. Using Rhonda's knowledge of Silas Tucker, the original owner and builder of the school, and the students' grasp of revolutionary history, the children set off in search of the artifact. Following clues left by Tucker, the students climb through secret passage ways, all while on the hunt. Are they knowledgeable, quick, and brave enough to find the artifact before the FBI storms the school? This novel reads like a National Treasure and Spy Kids movie combined. It has twists and turns. One of the novel's huge strengths is the kids banding together; in addition, each character has the opportunity to show individual skills and to grow as a person. The only real hitch is their use of "QuackerMe" instead of Twitter. The lingo associated with it is jarring and might yank readers out of the story. Also, Spooner's illustrations add nothing to the narrative.
VERDICT Suggested for general purchase for middle school collections, especially for adventure-loving patrons.

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