Books Reviewed by CKT

39 Clues: Breakaway by Jeff Hirsch

Published by Scholastic US

YA author superstar Jeff Hirsch is back with another unstoppable action novel: 39 Clues: Breakaway. This book is chock-full of well written prose, page turning suspense and affable characters, in other words another super read.

39 Clues traces more nail biting adventures for the Cahill family (one of the world’s most powerful families). Thirteen year old Dan is sent on a globe trotting mission, challenging a terrifying adversary who has managed to infiltrate the Cahill family. Worse still, it seems that his sister Amy may just be an enemy and not the friendly side-kick he could always count on.

Hirsch’s passion for keeping the readers on their toes, never able to guess the next fictional move reminds me a little of Dan Brown for kids. Mystery, danger and suspense all wrapped up in an international best seller. Chapter one will have even the most reluctant reader entrapped, unable to put down the book. The evil Pierce and his murderous mercenary’s on a mission to bring down the Cahill children will have action fans racing to the final page.

I have a soft spot for well-written YA fiction, and Hirsch delivers it at its finest. No easy to follow, cliché strewn story-line here: brimming with originality and endearing (but tough, oh-so-tough) characters this is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year (perhaps showing my affection for YA fiction!).

Like all good engineers of something for the young consumer Hirsch and his team have created more than just a book, they have created an empire. Included with the books are collector cards so that readers can play the Unstoppable game, bringing the story to life and engaging the reader on a more interactive level (though as an adult, the story rich in ancient myth and powerful families was enough to hook me!)

Hirsch lists The Outsiders as one of his favorite books and you can see inspiration from this YA classic throughout 39 Clues: from the obvious naming of one of the characters (Pony Boy) to the less obvious but equally important closeness of the cast of young characters.

But of course the action doesn’t stop on the last page, like all good series authors Hirsch leaves his readers on tenterhooks. I’m sure there are legions of fans world-wide eagerly awaiting the next installment. I know I am!

Reviewed by Leah Mason
CKT Book Reviewer

Author: Jeff Hirsch
Title: 39 Clues: Breakaway
Publisher: Scholastic US
ISBN: 9780545521420
Published: February 2014
Age: 8+

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