It’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! And today I am taking a look at The Genius Files book 3, You Only Die Twice, by Dan Gutman.
Pepsi and Coke are traveling with their parents in an RV vacation across the country. They stop at just about every wacky site you could think of, including The World’s Largest Frying Pan and The World’s Largest Chest of Drawers. As they travel, bad things start to happen.
In the previous 2 books they defeated Dr. Warsaw and his trainee Archie. In this book they take on a villain of unknown origin who is dressed like a dead rock star. Several times the villain attempts to kill Coke and Pepsi, but each time they survive. The end game takes place in Graceland, and has an explosive conclusion.
Well, this is an interesting book geared at middle schoolers and their humor. I did not have to read the first two books in the series, the author has a “what you missed” chapter. Love that. As for are main characters, Coke and Pepsi, twin brother and sister, they seem to get themselves into all sorts of trouble.
I had a really hard time believing that everywhere they stopped on vacation, one of the former bad guys was there, or the current villain. That is just too much. Plus, the parents are totally oblivious and let the young twins off on their own for large amounts of time- Huh? So you have to cast a bit of reality aside and let things go with the flow to enjoy the book.
I have to say that my favorite parts of the book were the weird stops the family makes. The book contains actual pictures of each of the curious exhibits and I loved reading about them. It was so cool, and I think middle graders will be fully engaged. The author also includes interactive information for children to research on Google.
Now, we come to the one thing I did not like, the ending. Not so much the how, but the whom. When the evil villain is finally revealed I was shocked. The choice seems cruel to me. I didn’t think it remotely funny, but really sad.
Overall, the book will definitely entertain its intended target audience- kids!