Bert Golliwop and his executive team at Golly Toy and Game Company decide to hold a second round of Gollywhopper Games in this sequel.
Enter 12-year-old Cameron, an ordinary middle child with an actual ticket to said games courtesy of older brother Spencer, who entered him thinking it would double his chances to get in. Mild-mannered Cameron might never have considered it. Spencer plays all the angles, and his competitiveness keeps the brothers at odds throughout. Cameron doesn’t think much of his chances and really believes that his family hasn’t any faith in him either, but he finds the games’ puzzles intriguing. His video camera—his lifelong companion—has trained him to see things cinematically, and his observation skills become key. Readers might feel that they are following Cameron to his inevitable, big win, but Feldman is canny and employs hints of a possible act of sabotage to keep the outcome slightly more uncertain. Every puzzle is clearly explained but never too quickly, giving readers a chance to make their own guesses. (There are some amusing posers, but nothing requires calculus.) Some moral and ethical questions arise, but there’s no time for soul-searching in this mildly amusing entertainment.
Puzzle lovers who pick the book up wanting to hang out in the Gollywhopper world one more time will find themselves with a better-than-average sequel. (Fiction. 8-12)