2013, 336p, Middle-Grade Fantasy
My Rating=5 stars
Source: Own a copy
Imagine a school in the year 2074 where students don’t read history, but watch it happen around them; where running in gym class isn’t around a track, but up a virtual mountain; and where learning about animals means becoming one through an avatar.
Welcome to Cragbridge Hall, the most advanced and prestigious school in the world. Twin siblings Abby and Derick Cragbridge are excited as new students to use their famed grandfather’s inventions that make Cragbridge Hall so incredible. But when their grandfather and parents go missing, the twins begin following a trail of clues left by their grandfather. They must find out where their family is, learn who they can trust, and discover what secrets are hidden within Cragbridge Hall.
Abby and Derick soon realize they are caught in a race with a fierce adversary to discover their grandfather’s greatest secret–a dangerous discovery that could alter both history and reality. (Goodreads)
This is one of those books that I picked up one day while looking at the selection of books at Costco. I felt compelled to start reading it and halfway through, remembered my rule about waiting for an entire series to come out before I start reading it with my kids. By that time, though, it was too good to stop reading. We all absolutely loved it! Towards the end, we all wanted one more chapter, then one more chapter, until we ran out of time to read. When we got close to the end, we kept reading because we just had to know how it ended.
We enjoyed Abby and Derick and loved how down-to-earth they are, but Abby's friend, Carol, cracked us up. She gets distracted while talking and goes off on tangents. She also thinks Derick is hunky so she's always embarrassing him. Then there's Jacqueline, Abby's nemesis. They were roommates until Jacqueline decided that Abby didn't deserve to be there and she started making life miserable for Abby. There's the T.A., Rafa, and some teachers that they get to know and need to determine who will be helpful to them and who will try to stop them from saving their grandfather and parents. There are some twists and turns and surprises and it's lots of fun!
I loved how the author brought stories from history (and made them interesting) to show that, when given proper motivation, people will do whatever they need to in order to survive and keep pushing through obstacles because they really have no other choice. He also does a great job of explaining what we can learn from history and tragedies. As much as we don't want tragedies to occur, there are lessons to be learned from them and they will change the course of some people's lives for the better. We had so many great discussions while reading this book! I'm glad it didn't end on a cliffhanger, but it definitely left all of us looking forward to more. This is a series I highly recommend reading!