The Project, by Brian Falkner

If you're in the market for a book for a ten- to twelve-year-old boy who finds even the tiny smidgen of romance featured in the 39 Clues series too embarrassing, Brian Falkner's novels may be the answer to your holiday gift-giving prayers.

Falkner's 2011 novel The Project centers around two teenage boys: Luke, a 15-year-old New Zealander transplanted to Iowa, and his fast-talking friend Tommy. When the boys volunteer to rescue the contents of their local library's basement during a flood, Luke finds a copy of an obscure book called Leonardo's River. The book is worth millions, so Luke and Tommy decide to sneak back and grab it—but the moment the book is in their possession they become the target of a violent millionaire who believes Leonardo's River holds the secret of time travel, and intends to use it to change the path of history.

The Project features Nazis, Leonardo da Vinci's journals, murderous thugs, and just enough educational value to eke its way into most middle school teachers' good graces. Falker is no Eoin Colfer, but he writes with easy, unpretentious style, and his action/mystery/sci-fi mash-up moves along at a brisk pace. Preteen boys are an under-served literary demographic, so I was delighted to discover a such a solidly entertaining author, and fully intend to mention Mr. Falkner's name the next time an anxious parent asks me to recommend something—anything!—to tempt little Jayden away from his Xbox.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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