Masterminds, by Gordan Korman, is a new middle-grade novel full of adrenaline-fueled action scenes and jaw-dropping plot twists.
In the town of Serenity, New Mexico, kids have everything they need. The town sits like an oasis in the dessert, full of modern homes and swimming pools, tree houses and swing sets. In this blissful community, poverty and crime are unheard of, and the only thing the kids have to worry about is passing their classes at school and what they’ll do in their free time.
If only they could leave.
Eli Frienden is bored out of his mind. Living in the middle of nowhere, he and his best friend Randy have learned to create their own amusement—but after yet another risky stunt leaves their boomerang caught in the filter of Randy’s swimming pool, Eli thinks the excitment of the afternoon is over.
Then Randy confesses that he snuck out of town and found a rusty old car in an abandoned shed. Eli worries that breaking the rules and leaving Serenity will enrage his strict father, who is the mayor of the town, but the promise of adventure lures him into hopping onto his bike and following Randy down the road.
That’s when Eli’s life is changed forever.
As soon as they pass the town limits, Eli is struck down by a shockwave of pain that sends him crashing to the ground. A black security helicopter appears in the sky above him, and while Eli is taken to the hospital, Randy is punished by being kicked out of Serenity forever.
Scrambling for answers, Eli is further shocked when a lightning storm causes a brief glitch that allows him to see a website full of uncensored American history, and he realizes that his entire life has been a lie.
With his own father as his greatest enemy, Eli rallies the other kids in his school to break into the Serenity Plastic Works, the factory in town that claims to make orange traffic cones.
Once inside, the truth comes crashing down, delivering a unique plot twist that will leave readers stunned. Having learned the gut-wrenching truth of who they are and where they come from, the kids are faced with big questions about the purpose of family and what it means to take control of your own destiny. The kids concoct a plan that sends the action speeding forward, leading to a break-neck finish that will leave readers gasping for a sequel.
Author Gordan Korman once again earns his place among top middle-grade writers, weaving a thrilling tale full of expert foreshadowing, relatable characters, and creative plot twists. The work of a practiced and imaginative author, Masterminds is a darkly whimsical tale that will play in the imaginations of readers long after the last page is turned.