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From the Genius Files series, volume 2

by Dan Gutman

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-182767-9
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald squeak through numerous murder attempts at roadside attractions across the Midwest and on eastward.

After berating readers who skipped the opener, Mission Unstoppable (2011), Gutman picks up his unconventional cross-country travelogue where he left off. He takes the RV holding his 13-year-old brainiacs and their oblivious parents from the National Mustard Museum in Spring Green, Wisc., to the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. Along the way, he pauses to suspend the sibs in French-fry cages over boiling oil outside the first McDonald’s, imprison them in glass vats of soft-serve ice cream at Ohio’s spectacular Cedar Point Amusement Park, lock them inside Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum (with a Megadeth track cranked up to mind-blowing level) and subject them to other perils. What’s up? It seems aptly named bad guy Archie Clone and other assassins are out to kill, or perhaps test, them before they can join a secret organization of child geniuses and collect a huge reward. Tucking in small photos, instructions for following the route on Google Maps, facts about attractions large and small and mysterious ciphered messages, the author brings his confused but resourceful youngsters to an explosive climax and a shocking revelation that guarantees further adventures on the road back to the left coast.

Nothing spices up a boring road trip like moments of extreme terror. (Adventure. 10-12)