cover image Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation

Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation

Stuart Gibbs. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-5344-2476-0

This adrenaline-charged thriller by Gibbs (the Spy School series) introduces 12-year-old supergenius Charlie Thorne and sends her, with two CIA agents, in search of a world-changing equation developed by Albert Einstein before his death. Charlie is skipping university classes in Colorado to ski forbidden slopes when she is tracked down by agents Dante Garcia and Milana Moon. They need her help to find Pandora, an equation concealed by Einstein that could make both cheap, clean energy and terrible weapons. The Furies, a white supremacist cell, is hot on Pandora’s trail, and Garcia believes that only Charlie can solve the clues that Einstein left behind and get the CIA there first. Clues take them to Israel, where both groups run afoul of the Mossad. Bullets fly, bodies fall, puzzles lead to more puzzles, and chases via skateboard and Humvee ensue at a breakneck pace. In addition to all the action, Gibbs slips in a few lessons on cryptography and Einstein, and poses questions about moral uses of power that give this adventure depth. Charlie is a terrific hero—outrageously smart, courageous, and still believable as a kid. After this explosive start, young readers will eagerly await her next adventure. Ages 10–up. [em](Sept.) [/em]