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Gordon Korman’s ‘Masterminds’

A Book Review by Anjana Bharathiraja

Hello, fellow Book Nerds! 

1620921932277Today, before getting to the books, allow me to paint you a word picture. You live in an ideal society, you have the perfect parents, and you have no idea what violence is! It sounds like bliss, doesn’t it? (Well, they do say ignorance is bliss!) But it’s a little too late now. We know all the crimes and injustice people face daily. Yet one town in New Mexico, in the middle of nowhere, appears to be pure. The kids there live perfect lives and know nothing of discontent, except for Malik, but he’s another story. They do not even know of the word murder. One fateful day Amber Laska finds a newspaper from the Outside. Eli Frieden finds a note from a friend who moved away, “Protect yourself, Eli.” That is the tug of yarn that unravels the whole sweater. Discovery after discovery leads the kids to an unbelievable secret. 

The secret changes their entire lives! It makes them feel grotesque, even thinking about it. They are being fooled into perfect lives. Deceived to believe the people around them truly loved them. Those same people fooled them into believing untrue events. The town that teaches honesty and its importance is a town built on lies. They had to escape and make it in the real world with no actual knowledge of it. Could you do it? Being brought up with no knowledge of anything and then being thrust out in the world and surviving? Well, these kids hopefully will. This is your last chance to look away before SPOILERS!! Take it or leave it.

You’re still here? Okay, I tried… What did they discover? That they’re lab rats. No, don’t leave! Figuratively. Lab rats as in their whole lives are scientific experiments. All their parents are scientists observing them. What experiment you ask? They’re genetic matches to criminal masterminds. Scientists are testing to see if, brought up under the “right circumstances,” they remain good people. Are you curious too? Well, too bad, because they’re running away from home. Far far away, anywhere but there. This especially hurts as you’ve been raised with love and pride all around you, when you discover that it was all fake. Nobody ever loved you, and you were nothing more than an experiment to them. That they taught you fabricated history and fed you concocted stories. That hurts. So, they ran away. Far away. They just needed to get away.

That’s the story, but what about the writing? The writing is absolutely phenomenal as well! It is written in five perspectives, all so wildly different it bewilders one how these five survive together. First is Eli Frieden, an extremely bright thirteen-year-old, his ‘father’, is the mastermind behind the whole science experiment. Next, we have Amber Laska, who is a perfectionist (to say the least), is the most put off by this. She was the one most attached to her life and so she was the most savage one of them all, wanting revenge over freedom. Contrasting Amber is her best friend Tori Pritel, an artiste! Her parents are probably the only ones that really loved her. And then there were two, Malik Bruder and Hector Amani. Hector’s perspective is only written for maybe half of the book for several reasons. Malik is the most rule-breaking one out of all of them. He didn’t even like his life in Serenity (the town)! They were considering kicking him out of the experiment because they thought he was a ‘toxic element’! What’s that supposed to mean? Malik’s a human! Sort of, anyway. 

The already wild story from these wilder vantage points makes for quite the read! Their story is definitely a page-turner and worth a weekend of reading. Gordon Korman’s Masterminds Trilogy takes you for quite the ride with twist after turn. Think of it like this, a hilariously terrifying story about the most impressive kids ever. Doesn’t make too much sense, does it? I guess you’ll just have to read it!

About the Reviewer:

1620921786366Anjana Bharathiraja is a twelve-year-old girl, who started blogging when she was eight. According to her, she’s crazy about books and writing. When she is free, she always takes a book and reads it – whether it's an already-read book or a new one. “I get so excited when I receive a new book and open it immediately and impatiently,” she says.

She blogs regularly on http://anjournals.blogspot.com/.


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