Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Review: Masterminds

Publish May 23, 2015

Serenity, New Mexico is perfect. An affluent, tightly knit community that prioritizes honesty and good citizenship, Serenity has no crime, no unemployment, and no homelessness. Nobody in Serenity lies, and most of the kids don’t even know what “murder” means. Thirteen-year-old Eli Frieden has never left Serenity, and has never wanted to–until the day he learns that he can’t. On a dare from his best friend, Randy, the two try to bike outside the town limits, but as they near the town’s boundary, Eli becomes violently ill. On the point of collapse, Eli is rescued by the town’s mysterious security service, the Surety. Eli is hospitalized for two nights, and discovers upon his release that Randy is being sent to live outside of Serenity forever. But Randy leaves Eli a letter, exposing life in Serenity as a façade. Now, Eli and an unlikely band of gifted classmates must work together to uncover the truth about Serenity, their teachers, and even their parents. An award-winning author of more than 80 books for teens and children, Gordon Korman returns with Masterminds, the first book in a new series about an elaborate experiment gone awry, and five brilliant teenagers determined to find justice. Always a sure bet for entertainment value, Korman is as ambitious as ever, effortlessly pulling readers into a complex plot full of unexpected twists and u-turns. Masterminds is signature Korman – a grandiose plan, unlikely teenaged co-conspirators, and the unwitting adults who underestimate the abilities of their young progeny. A high-stakes adventure that must be read in one sitting, Masterminds hits the sweet spot of action, humour, and ethical conundrum that characterizes the truly genius coming-of-age novel.


Gordon Korman
Harper Collins Canada
ISBN 13: 978-1-44342-873-6

Karen Doerksen
Karen Doerksen Karen Doerksen lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta with her husband and four children. She works for the Edmonton Public Library, and holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Alberta.  

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