Evil Genius (The Smartest Kid in the Universe #3)

 
4.3 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
708 0
Evil Genius (The Smartest Kid in the Universe #3)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
May 16, 2023
ISBN
978-0593480915
Buy This Book
      
Jake McQuade's the smartest kid in the universe—or at least he was. But just as his training with the secret agency known as the Consortium is about to start, Jake's jelly beans go missing! And to make matters worse, they (and Jake's genius!) might be wearing off right when he needs his smarts most!

Jake needs to solve this mystery fast. Who stole the jelly beans and why? Can Jake figure out what's going on, recover the missing jelly beans, and stop a high-tech heist before it's too late?!

From top-secret hideouts to New York City penthouse apartments to the Statue of Liberty in the middle of the night, get ready to go on a whirlwind, wild-ride adventure filled with supervillains and spies, puzzles and pirates, codes and drones, and much, much more—and don't miss the first two books in the series—Smartest Kid in the Universe and Genius Camp!

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Smart Kid, Silly Choices
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Jake, who managed to snarf down a lot of Coach Farooqi's Ingestible Knowledge jelly beans in The Smartest Kid in the Universe and to use the incredible knowledge gained from them to thwart evil doers in Genius Camp, has a problem. He feels like his super smarts are fading, and he doesn't want to go back to the boring obscurity of his old life. He tells his mother to go to Disney World with his sister without him, while he has more assessments done by Marie Double at the consortium. Coach Farooqi, who might be the most disorganized scientist ever, hasn't been completely successful in replicating the beans, so if Jake's abilities disappear, he's in trouble. Of course, with 8th grade starting, Jake as well as his friend Kojo also have to worry about the new school year. Thanks to friend Grace Garcia, whose family treasures were taken back from the evil Hubert Huxley and his family, the school has been renovated, and the 8 million dollar Red Lion jewel is on display to remind people who funded the changes. Since Jake put together the security system, it should be impenetrable, but that doesn't stop people from trying. When Farooqi's newest batch of trial IK beans are stolen, clues point to the evil Zane Zinkle, who was unhappy that Jake's intelligence passed his own. Of course, with Hubert at their school now, since his father is in jail, suspicion falls on his as well. When it comes to light that Grace's ancestors hid an even bigger treasure, the three pound, orange la Gran Calabaza diamond, everyone turns their attention to finding it. Hubert's grandmother enlists Jake's help anonymously, figuring that once it is found, she will steal it. When the Consortium takes a turn to the dark side, Jake starts to question everything he knows. Will he be able to keep the diamond safe, determine if his super smarts will stay, AND find out which organizations are good, and which are evil?

Good Points

Like Ponti's City Spies or Gibbs' Spy School books, this is full of improbably scenarios that will delight young readers who think it is perfectly possible that they will lie to their parents and sneak off on dangerous international spy missions! It offers worthy adveraries of varying abilities, bumbling adults who could be so much more helpful, and a quest that only our protagonist can solve. There's lots of action and adventure, and the short chapters will mean that the pages are turned very quickly.

Jake is an engaging Every Kid who finds himself in an unusual situation. He is enjoying his new life, and fears that he might not be up to his tasks if the IK beans wear off. This anxiety about capabilites is something that many middle grade readers feel, if only abou their ability to survive dodge ball, so it makes Jake's unlikely exploits seem relatable. Kojo is a fun sidekick, but I wonder if any middle grade readers will get his classic television references (Kojak?McGyver? Maybe it will spark some research.)

James Patterson's imprint is filled with books with strong kid appeal, and Grabenstein is one of the strongest writers in his stable, with his Jacky Ha-Ha series, Dog Crew books, and fantastic Wonderland Motel adventures. The Smartest Kid in the Universe is a smart purchase for fun summer reading.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
Super genius vs. super genius
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What worked:
As the title says, Jake is considered the smartest kid in the universe, although it’s not public knowledge that revolutionary, newly-created jelly beans are the source of his intelligence. He’s been working with a secret organization called the Consortium that performs covert operations unknown even to the FBI and CIA. Jake wants to do his best for the Consortium so he’s worried when he starts to have trouble remembering critical information. A subplot is a generations-old conflict involving two families and hidden pirate treasure. Jake and his friends found gold and jewels in a previous book and they’re now off to find a huge, orange diamond worth billions of dollars. However, getting their hands on the diamond might be even more important than they thought.
Readers actually know more about what’s going on than the characters themselves, a situation not often seen in plots. The jelly beans are stolen from the scientist’s home and Jake assumes he knows the culprit. However, there are two antagonists working separately to get revenge against Jake and his friends. Both of them are most angry about Jake’s sudden burst of intelligence and they each make plans to get even. These complicated relationships provide ample opportunities for unexpected twists so readers will anxiously make mental predictions about what might happen next.
Being inside Jake’s mind helps readers empathize with his predicament. He’s very concerned that he may lose his intelligence and thus let other people down. The Consortium has put a lot of faith in Jake, and his friends assume he knows everything. The theft of the new, improved jelly beans creates a couple of problems for Jake. Whoever stole them will have access to even greater knowledge than Jake and the theft can’t be reported to the police or FBI. Reporting the truth about Jake’s knowledge coming from the jelly beans will reveal him as a fraud to the Consortium and the authorities plus the inventor will be in trouble too. Jake's intelligence is, in fact, fading away so the big question is how long will he keep it? Will he be smart enough to foil the evil plots that are unfolding?
What didn’t work as well:
For a boy working with a secret organization, it seems everyone knows about Jake’s abilities and exploits. It’s not a huge concern but it strikes me as strange that a boy trying to keep huge secrets and save the world is so recognized by everyone.
The Final Verdict:
This fun adventure of a young genius should appeal to a range of middle-grade readers. Jake’s fading abilities keep him humble and make him less like a perfect super-character and it makes the plot unpredictable. The book can be read independently from the others (although maybe you shouldn’t) and I recommend you give it a shot!
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account