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In this action-packed first novel in the Seven Wonders series, Jack McKinley, an imaginative kid with a penchant for Rube Goldberg-style devices, is kidnapped and brought to a mysterious island. There he learns that he and three other 13-year-olds carry a rare, often fatal gene; if they survive, the gene will confer superpowers on them and mark them as distantly descended from Atlantis. That ancient kingdom, they discover, was destroyed when its rulers misused the enormous power they wielded. Jack and his new friends have been recruited to rediscover the lost repositories of that power, which are connected to the wonders of the ancient world, such as the Colossus of Rhodes and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Their survival, though, is far from guaranteed. Lerangis, contributor to the 39 Clues series, has created a real page-turner, and while the characters are somewhat one-dimensional (particularly the adults), there's a genuine sense of mystery and even a touch of grandeur to this tale. Lerangis aims squarely at the legions of Percy Jackson fans and hits his target. Ages 8-12. Agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Part Goonies, part MacGyver, part Percy Jackson, this big series starter is sure to please readers looking for underdog heroes and their unbelievable adventures. Jack learns he has a rare genetic anomaly that gives him a unique skill, but one that will cause his death if he doesn't receive mysterious treatments at a secretive institute along with three other young teens. Marco, Aly, Cass, and Jack are deeply suspicious of the institute's director and his troll-like thug, but rely on them for survival when they aren't too busy trying to escape. Together, their skills make them a formidable team, which serves them well on their quest to find the cure for their ailment, the parts of which are located at each of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, beginning with the heart of Atlantis. The teens' talents mirror their obvious outward appearances, but they quickly develop the heart and personality of full characters. The tension of whom to trust and why keeps readers guessing, and the quick action, high stakes, and clever solutions make this a slam dunk. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Lerangis scored big as one of the 39 Clues authors, and a six-figure marketing campaign signals that this is being positioned as a tent-pole franchise.--Booth, Heather Copyright 2010 Booklist