THE SECRET OF ROVER by Rachel Wildavsky


Age Range: 10 - 14
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As if a road trip without any money isn't exciting enough, escape from demented villains ups the ante in this survival tale with international-spy overtones. Katie and David, 12-year-old twins, find themselves in plush circumstances after their parents sell to the government the top-secret gadget they’d spent years developing in abject poverty. The prologue focuses on an orphaned child taken by soldiers in the nonexistent country of Katkajan, and when Katie and David's parents take off to that country to adopt a baby, the two strands meet. A new nanny from Katkajan appears just as the parents are leaving, and with her comes trouble. When Katie and David discover they have been essentially kidnapped and their parents are unreachable, they decide to try to escape on a search for their only relative, a long-lost hermit uncle living near the Canadian border. Their journey north from Washington, D.C., with evil Katkajanians giving chase, provides suspense and a chance for them to display their ingenuity. Knowing which adults to trust and when is difficult, and eventually, the twins must solve their own problems, despite some powerful assistance. Fantasy though this clearly is, it reads (more or less) as though taking place in our recognizable world—sort of a 24 for middle-grade readers. Fans of spy stories and political intrigue will find plenty to appreciate here, but those few who demand logic and reality will be less appreciative. (Thriller. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8109-9710-3
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2011


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