Two young descendants of Jules Verne must stay one step ahead of a villain attempting to steal their ancestor’s treasure.
When his parents must go to the Mayo Clinic for medical tests on his mom, 13-year-old, “on the spectrum” Max Tilt is left in the care of his cousin Alex, who is taking a break from college to write a novel. But Max’s parents leave behind a mountain of unpaid bills, including an eviction notice. The cousins decide to sell off some of the junk in the attic to raise money, but one piece, Verne’s wooden chest, attracts the attention of Fix, a nefarious criminal determined to follow Verne’s clues and secure the prize. And while the cousins look nothing alike (Max’s father is Dominican while his mother is white, and Alex’s mother is African-American while his father is white), they think alike, agreeing to enter into a dangerous partnership with Fix. They may have brains and creativity, but he has gadgets, manpower, and money. Max’s inability to comprehend sarcasm and mild synesthesia (fear makes him smell fish) combine with Alex’s rebelliousness and creativity to make them a unique and compelling duo. The fast-moving plot is filled with puzzles, riddles, and trivia. Max’s tendency to take everything literally creates plenty of humorous misunderstandings; while the tightly focused third-person narration makes Max a three-dimensional character, this quirk may unfortunately have readers laughing at him rather than with him.
A new series for sci-fi enthusiasts and adventure seekers. (Adventure. 9-12)