cover image Genius Squad

Genius Squad

Catherine Jinks, . . Harcourt, $17 (436pp) ISBN 978-0-15-205985-9

Readers who loved Evil Genius will find this sequel as gripping, devilish and wonderfully dark as its predecessor. What made that first book so good was the author’s delivery of a complex, layered protagonist in the young Cadel Piggot and the world of criminal masterminds in which he lives and learns, a world he eventually destroys. From these ashes rises another imaginative and just slightly less villainous cast of characters, the Genius Squad of the title, to tempt Cadel’s vulnerable conscience. Cadel and his multiply-disabled best friend, Sonja Pirovic—a central figure this time around—land themselves among a new gang of superhuman brainiacs, who help populate this story with fresh twists and eyebrow-raising, technologically over-the-top antics. Cadel may be a genius, but is he smart enough to overcome his evil upbringing to land himself squarely on the side of good? Between Cadel’s touching concern and growing feelings for Sonja, and the help of a few kindhearted adults, there’s hope for Cadel. As readers keep their eyes on Cadel, however, Jinks stays busy, gradually setting up her audience for a stunning climax. Ages 12-up. (May)