Nye, “the Science Guy,” collaborates with Mone and illustrator Iluzada to launch a new fictional series featuring three kids; two of them are geniuses—the third, Jack, is just reasonably clever.
Still, it’s useful to be clever when you’re a 12-year-old immersed in an exciting mystery and pitted against a nasty bad guy. The young geniuses are Ava, 12, with “skin the color of coffee,” and olive-skinned Matt, 15, white Jack’s foster siblings. The three live on their own until wealthy, white inventor Hank takes them under his wing. This results in a science-infused trip to Antarctica, where a scientist friend of his has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. The setting is vividly depicted and a useful location for displaying new technology in an engaging manner, even slipping in some information on topics such as the world’s need for more sources of fresh drinking water and climate change. The teens use technology, deductive skills, and a good dose of intrepid bravery to bring about a happy ending, all related in Jack’s wry, believable first-person voice. Backmatter explains some of the innovative technology and provides further information on Antarctica.
Fast-paced enough to engage even reluctant readers, informative without being didactic, and entertaining: a solid series start. (Adventure. 9-14)