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The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable


The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable

Coke McDonald and his twin sister, Pepsi, are about to turn 13 and have the entire summer ahead of them. Unfortunately, their plans are filled with what promises to be the most nightmarish of situations --- a cross-country RV road trip with their parents. Since Dr. McDonald loves history and Mrs. McDonald adores strange and interesting facts that most normal people would never want to know about, Coke and Pep are facing a summer of boring museums and visits to places like the world's largest ball of twine.

But being bored turns out to be the least of their problems. Unbeknownst to them, Coke and Pep have been recruited for a new top-secret organization that enlists the help of young geniuses to solve the world's problems. Unfortunately, this honor also pinpoints them as targets for murder. They first realize something weird is happening when they're followed home from school. Creepy men wearing bowler hats and driving golf carts chase them to the cliffs and then start firing poison darts at them. A mysterious woman appears and urges them into special wingsuits before ordering them to jump off the cliff. When she drops from one of the darts, Coke does the only thing he can --- he pushes Pep off the cliff and then jumps off after her.

When the twins arrive home and see the RV awaiting them, their original dread at the upcoming trip turns to relief. Surely they will find safety on their road trip, and whoever is after them will fade away. But the bad guys are very persistent and follow them across the country. Someone starts leaving them cryptic messages that they grapple to decipher, hoping for help and advice in their mission. Every mile of the 3,000-mile trip across the country promises even more danger as Coke and Pep struggle to survive, attempt to keep the truth from their parents, and endure the side trips to places like the National Yo-Yo Museum. 

Author Dan Gutman offers a cross-country adventure filled with all sorts of cool and interesting tidbits (all the places he writes about are real). He also encourages readers to participate by studying maps, getting directions, looking up facts, and solving the coded messages left for the twins (and extra messages written in the margins). Coke and Pepsi (it's explained how they got their unusual names in the first chapter) are smart and resourceful, dedicated to each other, and willing to do whatever it takes to survive. But one of the best parts of the book is the comedy; Gutman has a wonderful sense of humor that never lets up.

MISSION UNSTOPPABLE is wildly exciting, explosively energetic, hysterically hilarious and contagiously fun. I'm already looking forward to the sequel.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on December 27, 2011

The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable
by Dan Gutman

  • Publication Date: December 27, 2011
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0061827665
  • ISBN-13: 9780061827662