Master Minds: Payback by Gordon Korman

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“‘We’re not criminals!’    

‘We kind of are,’ she reasons.  

‘ Just because we’re cloned from criminals doesn’t mean we did any of the stuff they’re in jail for,’ I insist.    

That’s what Serenity, New Mexico, turned out to be – not an actual town where people live and work and raise their kids, but a front for a twisted experiment called Project Osiris.”

 Korman, Gordon. Masterminds:Payback.  Balzer + Bray, 2017. 312 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-0-06-230005-8

 I didn’t realize when I read this book that it was the third in the series. No worries. I was able to understand what was going on and I loved the book. In fact, I think I’ll read the two books that preceded this one sometime. They are Masterminds and Masterminds:Criminal Destiny. In this book, four of the kids from Project Osiris are on the run and trying to find answers. It’s not that easy though. The Purple People Eaters (that’s what they call the people from Project Osiris) are looking for them. This leads to some pretty scary stuff – jumping onto the top of a moving RV – stealing a boat – living with a mob boss. You’ll have to read to find out how it turns out. What would you do if you found out you were a clone (of a criminal) and your whole life had been a lie?

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When by Victoria Laurie

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“‘I’m not exactly sure when I first started seeing the numbers. My earliest memories are filled with snatches of familiar and unfamiliar faces, each with a set of small black digits floating like shadows just above their foreheads.

Laurie, Victoria. When.  Hyperion, 2015. 323 pages. Hardcover. $17.99, ISBN 978-148470008-2

Maddie can see numbers on people’s foreheads. She can see them if she gets close enough. She can see them in a photo. The first time she knew what those numbers really meant was the day her father died. That’s when she knew she was seeing the person’s death date. After her father died, her mother started drinking – heavily –  and lost her job. To make extra money, her mom hires Maddie out reading death dates for people. This has gotten her the title of witch at school. She has one true friend – Stubby – who stands by her no matter what. Things start to go really bad when Maddie predicts the death date of a boy who goes missing and is later found dead. The FBI are called in and think that Maddie had something to do with it.  When Maddie sees that the death date of a cheerleader that Stubby has a crush on is the following week, Stubby tries to warn her. When she goes missing and is later found dead, the FBI start looking at Stubby. There is quite a bit of circumstantial evidence against Stubby – it is all explainable – but still enough for Stubby to be arrested and put into jail. Will Maddie be next? Can she convince the FBI that she and Stubby aren’t involved? What about the real serial killer?
HRS Black-Eyed Susan

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When is a Grades 6-9 nominee for the 2016-2017 Black Eyed Susan Award. For more information go to the Maryland Association of School Librarians.



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 Victoria Laurie’s



© Chris Peeler 2013