Monday, January 15, 2018

7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner

Dennis has just started at Washington Academy Middle School and expects it to be just as bad as all the other schools from which he was expelled. One day the teachers tell the students that in response to some complaints they had the previous week, 7th grade is now in charge of everything at school.  They have two days to restructure their classes and school rules.  As the class flounders a bit with the many options now open to them, Dennis keeps quiet and studies the other students.  He notices that Rhonda has a lot of ideas but doesn't want to say them in case the cool kids make fun of her but slowly she becomes one of the leaders.  After spending a couple of hours in a basement room, some students emerge to find that the rest of the school has been evacuated.  Using a scanner app, Dennis overhears the FBI talking outside the school about taking over, shutting down the school, and finding a valuable artifact hidden somewhere within the building.  Determined to save their school the 7th graders decide to locate the artifact themselves so they have some bargaining power.

With secret passages, historical documents and a government agency lurking outside ready to take over, this is very much like "National Treasure" for middle school.  The final revelation of what the artifact was and why it was so valuable felt a little anti-climatic to me since it because less about a corrupt government agency and more about best interest of the country, but that's a small issue.  The methods are still questionable.  I also have issues with the ways in which the 7th graders decided to fight back.  Okay, they are trying to save their school and the FBI is flexing its power unfairly, but I still think you'd be in some pretty big trouble if you used those weapons against law enforcement.  But I don't believe that will raise a red flag with my teen readers who will just be caught up in the puzzle-solving and the adventure.

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