Ages: 10 and upPublisher: Simon & Schuster Author: Stuart Gibbs


As Albert Einstein lay on his deathbed, he gave instructions to a trusted friend to destroy an equation—the Pandora equation, which contained the key to horrifying destructive capabilities. The friend, however, failed. The Pandora equation survived; and decades later, the CIA is racing to find it before a frightening group of white supremacist terrorists can get to it first. CIA agent Dante Garcia knows what—or rather, who—they need to succeed. They need the help of his twelve-year-old genius half sister, Charlie Thorne. Charlie is snotty, rebellious, and impulsive (and quite possibly an international criminal), but Dante knows that she is the only person capable of solving the puzzles Einstein set up to conceal his valuable equation. But even if Charlie and the CIA team, racing around the globe, can get to the Pandora equation before the terrorists do, Charlie knows that the CIA will not trust her with the valuable knowledge. And Charlie, for her part, certainly does not trust the CIA’s motives. Charlie needs to protect herself—and save the world.

Stuart Gibbs has written for movies, and this action thriller novel reads like it was made for the big screen. Charlie prefers to escape from dangerous situations by performing daredevil tricks on skis and skateboards (due to her mathematical genius, she can instantly calculate safe angles of landing, so this course of action is, according to Charlie, not as risky as it may sound). Gibbs conceived of some of the action while on a PJ Library-sponsored trip to Israel, so much of the action showcases his experiences in Israel, as the CIA team visits the Einstein archives and rampages around Old Jerusalem markets. The chapters are short and snappy, and generally end in suspenseful cliffhangers. Charlie Thorne reads like a book version of Indiana Jones, or like a young people’s version of The Da Vinci Code. It is a fast-paced, exciting, funny read that will entertain even readers who do not generally enjoy curling up with a book.

Naomi Lesley ©2019 Parents’ Choice

Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.

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