THE UNKNOWNS by Benedict Carey


Age Range: 10 - 14
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On the circular island where the Folsom Nuclear Plant is located, there sits a trailer park called Folsom Adjacent; not surprisingly, many of its colorfully boring residents work at the plant. Eleven-year-olds Diaphanta (Lady Di) and Tamir al-Khwarizmi (Tom Jones) get their wish for something exciting to happen when adults start vanishing from the population. The police department of nearby Crotona doesn’t seem to care much, and most adults in Adjacent either work too much or drink too much or both. When their best adult friend Mrs. Clarke vanishes, she seems to leave behind a clue in a math puzzle, which leads to another clue in a math puzzle, and suddenly Di and Tom are taking on Folsom officials to foil an evil plot with a little help from their…acquaintances. Carey’s debut is a brainteaser of a mystery full of quirky characters. Di and Tom are plucky outsiders with low self-esteem and overactive imaginations. By the third or fourth puzzle (they get progressively more difficult) things get a bit mathematically dense, but even reluctant mathematicians will enjoy this inheritor of The Westing Game. (Mystery. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8109-7991-8
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2009