This entry in the series called Seven, like the others, deals with a grandson and a journey.
Adam, 16, has been given an unusual mission by his deceased grandfather, a larger-than-life patriarch who seemed disdainful of the boy’s only average qualities. His assignment is to go to France and attempt to find the family that once sheltered his grandfather from the Nazis after he was shot down during World War II. Hidden in their barn was a painting of immense value that David intended to steal. If Adam succeeds at this odd mission, two more, each more difficult than the last, will follow. Adam is intrigued and imagines that achieving these strange goals will make him more attractive to class goddess Vanessa, a guilt-tinged desire as he already has a perfectly nice, very loyal girlfriend. Adam’s earnest self-focus, effectively depicted in his first-person narration, may have been created to remind readers of his need for growth, but it quickly becomes tedious. The missions he’s assigned are amusing and suspenseful, but sadly, he only begins to acquire insight into the real force behind his grandfather’s plan near the conclusion, far too little and too late to imply that he’s learned much from the experience.
An unusual tale that’s undermined by a shallow main character with a too-healthy dose of self-appreciation. (map and family tree, not seen) (Adventure. 12-16)