The clever writing makes this a delight. I even have an 8th grader who was a little leery of these who tore through the first two. There is a strong sense of the kids being in charge, and the look into the past of the parents is really fun, since they are involved but don't dominate the scene. I adored Marvin and Gus, who were sort of like a washed up Batman and Robin. There's a tiny bit of romance hinted at, and in general the tone is pitch perfect for middle grades, even up to 8th!