The Seventh Level

300p. 978-0-06195-105-3.
Gr 5—8—Travis Raines thinks he is being considered for The Legend, a secret society at his middle school. He receives blue envelopes that are labeled, "For Your Eyes Only." Over a couple of weeks, he is asked to complete seven puzzles and their corresponding tasks, and he must keep everything a secret. He also needs to do what he's been told without getting into trouble, which is tough when people don't take him seriously. Furthermore, some of the tasks have a cruel undertone. Could the messages really be from The Legend, or are they from an impostor group trying to get Travis in trouble? While the idea is exciting, the plot never quite reaches its potential. At times, the story is slow moving and even somewhat confusing. While Travis's characterization is complete, the others lack depth. The book does have strengths, though: the puzzles are fun to solve, the mystery of the envelopes is appealing, and Travis is a likable protagonist.—Sarah K. Allen, Elko Middle School, Sandston, VA
Goofily clever Travis struggles over puzzles and tasks that may get him into The Legend, a secret school club. Who is actually in The Legend and whether they're initiating him or getting him in trouble are just a couple of the story's intriguing mysteries. This engaging, smart, and funny middle-school adventure is narrated in Travis's authentic-sounding voice.

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