Masterminds (Masterminds #1)

Masterminds (Masterminds #1)
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Release Date
February 03, 2015
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Eli Frieden lives in the most perfect town in the world: Serenity, New Mexico. In this idyllic place, every lawn is perfectly manicured and everyone has a pool and a tree house. Honesty and integrity are valued above all else. The thirty kids who live there never lie—they know it's a short leap from that to the awful problems of other, less fortunate places. Eli has never left Serenity . . . Why would he ever want to? Then one day he bikes to the edge of the city limits and something so crazy and unexpected happens, it changes everything. Eli convinces his friends to help him investigate further, and soon it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems in Serenity. The clues mount to reveal a shocking discovery, connecting their ideal crime-free community to some of the greatest criminal masterminds ever known. The kids realize they can trust no one—least of all their own parents.

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Eli and Randy are good friends, and get into more than their fair share of trouble in their tiny town of Serenity. Randy's newest idea is to bike out of town to see an abandoned house with a cool vintage car in the garage. Eli realizes he's never actually left town before, and as the boys near the city limits, Eli feels very ill and collapses. He ends up being out of school for two weeks, even though he feels fine back in town, but he suspects that Dr. Bruder is giving him pills to make him forget the incident. Bruder's son, Malik, is not happy with the small town, and is ready to leave, even though he has a friend in Hector, even if the two don't always see eye-to-eye. Serenity is a great place to live, and there's no crime or urban blight or any of the horrible things that the local newspaper talks about, so Eli is worried when Randy gets sent to live with his grandparents after the boys' ill-fated excursion. His friend leaves clues, however, and Tori Pritel helps Eli realize that not everything is as is should be in Serenity. With the annual Serenity Days celebration coming up, this small group of children discovers horrifying secrets about their town and have to decide what to do about it.
Good Points
This book was not only exciting, but thought provoking as well. Really don't want to give away the twist in this because it was SO good, and much darker than the beginning of the book would indicate. I loved how the place really was happy, the parents were all supportive and kind (and the kids still are fond of them even after the secret is discovered, which will add a lot to the next book, I suspect!), but there is an evil plot afoot.

One of the main characters supposedly dies during an escape attempt, but I wonder if that character might return in the next book. It might be upsetting for sensitive readers.

Korman is such a multifacted rock star of an author. I am astonished and grateful every time he comes out with a new book!
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