Author: Justin Scott Parr
Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 of 5)
Genre/Pages: MG fiction / 216
Summary: “Every 12-year-old’s two favorite words: Summer vacation. No cold weather. No school. Just months of free time ahead.
Best friends Sage Carrington and Isabel Flores are making the most of their summer break when they discover an antique treasure map near the Washington Monument. But when faced with difficult clues and a bully in the form of Edwin Hooser, the tween girls must use every bit of imagination, drive, and intellect to outsmart Edwin and decipher the map.
Join Sage and Isabel on a journey through the nation’s capital as they try to solve the puzzle and recover a priceless bounty.”
Cover Review: I adore this cover! Every little thing on it comes straight out of the book, and the artwork is amazing! Fabulous attention to detail.
My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. As a nineteen year old, I’m not exactly the target audience for this book, but I read it to my little sister, who enjoyed it. I really have nothing against MG books, and I’ve read and enjoyed many of them, even as an adult, but this one just wasn’t really my style. I’d say it’s aimed more at 6-10, then it is at the typical MG age range of 8-12. Even though the protagonist is a 12 year old, I think the book just seems a bit younger than that.
Characters: The characters were well developed, and fun to read. I especially appreciated the real and hard issues that these characters deal with — bullying, divorce, failure, and cancer, to name a few. However, these issues are dealt with in such a way that they aren’t too intense for a middle grade audience. I think this book actually does a fabulous job of showing young children cope with these issues, and perhaps helping readers to find ways to cope with these or similar issues. The camaraderie and friendship between the two leads is beautiful and reminds me of my own childhood best friends.
Plot: The plot felt a bit all over the place at times, but overall, I think it was fast-paced enough to keep little kid’s attention, even if they can’t quite keep track of all the different things going on. Kids will for sure enjoy following Sage as she goes on her treasure hunt and various science-y adventures.
Content Advisory: It’s a MG novel. A girl almost drowns in a pool, and a girl also gets in a crash during a soapbox car race. Deals with topics like divorce, cancer, and bullying.
To Sum It Up: I think as an adult, this book is best read with a young child, rather than just alone. Reading it to a child helps you to enjoy and appreciate it for what it is — a fun story of adventure, friendship, and determination aimed at young children. I recommend this book to readers aged 5-10.