It’s the start of another year of reviews for MMGM here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE and time to announce the winners of my first giveaway. As announced last week ROSI HOLLINBECK won the first part of the contest and a $25 Visa Gift Card. You can catch Rosi’s fun and informative blog at THE WRITE STUFF.
Here are the results of the drawing for part two of the ARE YOU KIDDING? contest:
A Dozen Hardback MG Books: SA LARSEN (Find her blog here)
$25 Visa Gift Card: MARCIA STRYKOWSKI (Find her blog here)
$25 Amazon Gift Card: MICHAEL GETTEL-GILMARTIN (Find his blog here)
Congratulations to all and once you send me your address, I’ll send out your prize. What’s next? I’m planning already!
Now, let’s jump into this week’s review. I’m a bit late getting to this series as it has been buried on my TBR list for a year. I chose to read the second book (The first, RILEY MACK AND OTHER KNOWN TROUBLEMAKERS was released in 2012). It didn’t matter that I’d missed that one as character backgrounds are slipped in along the way.
Okay, let me get a few things out of the way. The plot is far-fetched as are many of the adult and child characters. I was shaking my head a few times at the unbelievable dialog on many of the pages. Similar to the recent GREAT GREENE HEIST, I moved beyond those concerns and just enjoyed the story. The tale borders on the impossible in more ways than one, but it’s fun following Riley Mack as he attempts to make right too many wrongs.
PUBLICATION DATE:2013 PAGE COUNT: 324
FULL PLOT (From Amazon):
Briana Bloomfield, the talent Jake Lowenstein, the genius “Mongo,” the muscle Jamal Wilson, the fifth grader —and—Riley Mack, the fearless leader
Together, these five are the Known Troublemakers, stirring up trouble in the name of justice. Wherever a wrong needs righting or an innocent kid needs protecting, Riley and his friends will be there, ready to use their problem-causing expertise for the greater good.
Only this time, injustice strikes a little too close to home. School’s out for the summer, and somebody’s polluting the gang’s favorite swimming hole. And if that wasn’t enough to ruin the vacation, one of the Troublemakers is in serious trouble, and all of Riley’s efforts to help are only making things worse. With ten thousand dollars and the fate of his friends and family on the line, Riley will have to think fast if he hopes to pull off his most daring caper yet!
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT RILEY MACK STIRS UP MORE TROUBLE by Chris Grabenstein
- Riley has a touching relationship with his dad who is stationed in Afghanistan. It’s what so many kids have to go through in the U.S. as a parent they adore is so far away. Riley mimics his dad’s army way of communicating, especially in the few opportunities they get to talk with each other.
- The humor had me laughing several times. Most of it comes from Riley’s mom or one of the other adult characters. The gags might go over a young reader’s head. For example, would they giggle at Mrs’ Mack’s request of a screwdriver (the kind used for screws) and everyone mistakenly assumes she’s ordering a drink by that name. I doubt it, but it was funny.
- Despite failing numerous times, Riley keeps coming up with new ideas. Success can only happen if you keep trying.
- The mystery in the story does its job. The outcome will have you guessing until that AHA moment when the various subplots come together to make a satisfying whole.
- Plenty of technology here for tech loving kids.
Riley Mack’s extraordinary awesome talents weren’t the kind he could showcase on TV or at a school talent show.
If he did, he might end up in detention hall.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.