The Clue Hunt Continues!

Cahills vs. Vespers Book One:  The Medusa Plot

Author:  Gordan Korman

Woot!  This book kicks off a second series featuring Dan and Amy Cahill from the 39 Clues series.  I’m currently reading the first of that series, The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan, aloud to my class and they’re loving it.  I’ve done this before, and I always turn at least a few kids on to the rest of the series with my sneaky reading teacher ways.  I’ve been a fan of this series from the start, and I think it is amazing how so many different authors (Korman and Riordan are joined by other middle grade greats like Jude Watson and Margaret Peterson Haddix) have contributed to the series but managed to keep characters and their development fairly consistent.  I’d love to read a book about how they pulled that trick off!  In The Medusa Plot, Dan and Amy are tracking down clues across the globe once more, but instead of competing with other Cahill relatives, they are now allied with them against the Vespers, an equally ancient and possibly more deadly group who have kidnapped some members of the Cahill clan.  The clock is ticking, and the Cahills are trying to save their family, with a subplot that has Dan planning to put together the secret formula he and Amy uncovered in the first series.

I wonder if this series really stands alone, or if readers would need to have experienced the hunt for the 39 clues to appreciate Cahills vs. Vespers?  I’ve thought about it, and I’ve already steered a couple of interested kids to the first series, but that may be due to my own tendencies as a completionist.  I think the whole saga of the Cahills makes for great fifth grade reading, with the snappy banter between the brother and sister protagonists, the frequent action scenes, and the plot twists that leave readers rethinking who the good guys are.  The frequent change of setting as the Cahills race around the world is very appealing and throws in geography and history in bite-size pieces.   Having a girl and a boy both featured makes this series widely accessible–my experience is that most middle grade readers tend toward main characters of the same sex as themselves.  With 39 Clues, they don’t have to choose!


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