Chester Keene Cracks the Code

Listening Library. Jul. 2022. 638p. $50. ISBN 9780593587461.
Gr 3-7–Luke Cage actor Elijah Boothe makes his audiobook debut as biracial 11-year-old Chester Keene, a spy-in-training readying himself to someday assist his secret agent father, whom he’s never met. Despite Dad’s absence, Chester still gets occasional emails, packages, and clues. The latest missive—certainly Dad-initiated—sends Chester on a complicated scavenger hunt, but this time, he’s inexplicably paired with his classmate Skye (who is also biracial—white and Japanese American). As different as the two are, their work together gets results, although the answers may not be what Chester predicted—or wanted. Boothe’s range is impressively dynamic, easily distinguishing the two sleuths, Chester’s worried mom, Skye’s easygoing dad, the gruff mall security guard, and would-be thieves.
VERDICT Magoon’s broad topics—bullying, friendship, absent parents, blended families

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