In a relaunch of the venerable Tom Swift series, Tom returns as a middle school student at the Swift Academy of Science and Technology, funded by his father, Tom Swift Sr., with profits from his company, Swift Enterprises.
Tom and his best friend, Noah Newton, have modified and reprogrammed a drone that they test in the halls of their school between classes. But while they’re in class—watching a documentary on infamous hackers, including one who looks like their school custodian—the drone goes missing from its hiding spot. Using his VR headset, Tom tracks the drone to the custodian, so Tom and Noah enlist their pals Amy Hsu and Samantha “Sam” Watson to retrieve it from Mr. Conway’s locked room in the basement. In the process they begin to suspect the custodian is responsible for a computer virus that hit the school’s network—which is tied into the servers at Swift Enterprises. The relatively simplistic mystery rests on red herrings and functions as a setup for fun scenes of sneaking about and even-more-fun drone-chase sequences. Though some parts of the story don’t withstand lengthy scrutiny, the overall quick pace and focus on the child protagonists make it an accessible choice for reluctant readers. With the relatively low stakes, this realistic update doesn’t rely on nostalgia. Tom and Sam present white; Noah presents black, and Amy presents Asian.
A kid-friendly aspirational series relaunch. (Science fiction. 8-12)