FICTION

Bringing Down the Mouse

336p. S. & S. Jul. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781442496262; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781442496323. LC 2013027538.
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Gr 4–8—Charlie sees everything in terms of mathematical equations, which has earned him the nickname Numbers. He hangs out with the Whiz Kids until the day he is invited to join a secret gang, the Carnival Killers, a group of clever middle schoolers led by a mysterious college kid. They plan on using math and physics to perpetrate a scheme to scam the scammers, those infamous carnival games that no one can ever win. But as Charlie gets pulled into the plan and begins to apply his logical and mathematical intellect to the games, something just doesn't quite add up. The pacing is well developed, building tension to almost a fever pitch as the Carnival Killers perfect their skills and arrive at Incredo Land to take on the biggest scam of all. The mystery of who is truly behind the schemes adds another dimension to the adventure. The plot has several unexpected and well-placed twists, and keeps readers guessing until the very end. A good fit for fans of Gordon Korman's "Swindle" series (Scholastic, 2008).—Gretchen Crowley, Alexandria City Public Libraries, VA
Middle schooler and math genius Charlie is invited into a group who plans to take down an amusement park by using their brains to outsmart the midway games. The author of the adult book Bringing Down the House has some clever ideas, but overdone writing ("Her eyes were like ice chips, glowing an unnatural shade of blue") mars an otherwise amusing story.

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