cover image The Paradise Trap

The Paradise Trap

Catherine Jinks. Egmont USA, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-60684-273-7

Jinks (the Evil Genius series) combines a plot filled with surreal twists and turns with a dash of Greek mythology in a novel that hits the mark on both the humor and horror fronts. Eleven-year-old Marcus has no interest in spending the summer at the beach with his mother, Holly, in the old trailer she buys—he’d rather play video games than deal with the obnoxious crowds. However, Marcus and his new friends, siblings Edison and Newt, discover that the trailer somehow has a secret cellar, which takes them to fantastic, too-good-to-be-true places that entice them to stay in the mysterious realm (for Edison, it’s an amusement park; for Newt, a rocking nightclub). Although several classic tropes appear (from the various dangerous paradises to Edison and Newt’s mad scientist–like father), Jinks keeps her material fresh, weaving in old myths and the occasional bit of social commentary; a sizable amount of the story is told from Holly’s point of view, in addition to Marcus’s. The result is a fast-paced adventure that’s easily as exciting as one of Marcus’s beloved video games. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)