CODENAME ZERO by Chris Rylander


From the "Codename Conspiracy" series, volume 1
Age Range: 9 - 12
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Desperate to spice up life in his small, North Dakota town, seventh-grader Carson Fender has secured his position as Erik Hill Middle School’s number-one prankster.

But shortly after Carson orchestrates the release of a herd of fainting goats on school grounds, life in Minot gets a whole lot more interesting…and it doesn’t have anything to do with the goats. When a strange man unloads a mysterious package on Carson and informs him that “the fate of the world depends” on him delivering it to a Mr. Jensen, it becomes clear that there’s more going on in this small town than he ever imagined, and Carson is now at the heart of it all. With its high-stakes secret missions, gadgets and underground government agencies, readers in search of a solid middle-grade spy novel will find plenty to enjoy here. Carson is a funny and engaging protagonist, and readers will relate to both his longing for a more interesting life and his angst once he finds it. Though Carson has an intriguing cast of close friends, including a deliciously unapologetic, conspiracy-theorist best friend, one of the novel’s greatest shortcomings is that they don’t play a larger role in the story.

Still, this is an exciting, zippy read that will leave readers wondering if there’s more to their own hometowns than meets the eye. (Thriller. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-06-212008-3
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2013


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