Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Summary: The CIA is desperately seeking Pandora, an equation created by Einstein that has the potential to solve all the world’s energy problems–or to take out large portions of Earth’s population. A terrorist group may be closing in on figuring out Einstein’s super-secret location, so the CIA has decided to recruit Charlotte “Charlie” Thorne, a 12-year-old girl with the world’s highest IQ. She also happens to be the half sister of Dante, the agent assigned to the case. In a series of nail-biting escapades, Charlie and her colleagues race against the clock to try to beat the terrorists as well as a rogue agent in solving the clues to reveal the location of Pandora. Filled with non-stop action and narrow escapes, the story ends ambiguously for Charlie, leaving the door open for a sequel. 400 pages; grades 5-8.
Pros: Stuart Gibbs fans will not be disappointed with his newest series starter. Charlie occasionally presents as a bratty know-it-all, but then again, she does pretty much know it all, due to her astronomical IQ; she also has a fun disrespect for authority that tweens are sure to appreciate. The pace never slows down, and readers will be propelled through the pages as fast as Charlie travels down her favorite ski slope.
Cons: Although Stuart Gibbs’ other series are popular with my fourth and fifth graders, I’m a little hesitant to recommend this for readers younger than fifth grade. The terrorist leader spews a lot of racist hatred, and there’s a somewhat disturbing scene where a man is burned alive.