cover image Fire the Depths

Fire the Depths

Peter Lerangis. Harper, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-244100-3

In this exciting first book in the Max Tilt series, two teens race across the world to solve a treasure hunt created by legendary author Jules Verne. With 13-year-old Max Tilt’s parents away, his 18-year-old cousin, Alexandra, is left in charge. While exploring the attic, they discover a chest once owned by Verne, from whom the cousins are descended. Inside, they find the first set of clues leading to a long-lost manuscript, which purports that Verne’s stories were based in reality. But they also attract the attention of ruthless businessman Spencer Niemand, who wants whatever treasure Verne left behind. Forced to work with Niemand, Max and Alex join him aboard his own fantastical submarine for a globe-spanning, death-defying adventure. Clever puzzles will grab readers’ attention, and biracial Max (who is Dominican on his father’s side) isn’t your average hero: he’s on the autism spectrum and has synesthesia, which manifests as emotions having scents, such as smelling fish when he’s scared. The fast pace and nifty concepts carry Lerangis’s story, and the ending neatly sets up future installments. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)