Sunday, November 15, 2009

In Too Deep (The 39 Clues) by Jude Watson

There’s a difference between “left for dead” and “dead.” Amy and Dan have been trapped caves and tunnels, attacked by ninjas, and locked in a tomb – all with absolutely no escape – until, of course, they escape. But it’s a-whole-nother story when an enemy questions Amy while calmly ladling chum into shark infested waters, fully intending to deposit the older Cahill sibling into the bloody bay.

In Too Deep is the perfect title for the sixth book in the 39 Clues series. Amy realizes, and Dan soon after, that the Cahill hunt for the 39 Clues is no game. Amy can’t go to a market in a major city without using the reflections in storefront windows to look for enemies or doubling back to check for tails or analyzing roof lines for the flash of binoculars.

Amy is told, “You don’t remember what you should never forget.” The truth is Amy doesn’t want to remember the night her parents died, but flashes, images of that night begin creeping back to Amy’s mind. People visited their house shortly before the deadly fire, familiar people, people currently hunting the 39 Clues. Questions were asked, threats were made, and ultimately her parents ended up dead.

The person mainly responsible for the events that night is now following Amy and Dan. Questions are asked. Threats are made. And someone else ends up dead.

Readers, along with Amy and Dan, realize the stakes are much higher than previously thought. Readers have been told of the seriousness of the 39 Clues and the viciousness of the Cahill clan, but the characters’ actions have never really matched the description. They do now. Yes, there are still narrow escapes that push the realm of believability, but since when has that stopped kids from loving a book?

In Amy and Dan’s sixth adventure, author Jude Watson takes them to Australia and Indonesia, and it’s appropriate that the Cahills travel Down Under. Their motivation for seeking the 39 Clues has been turned upside down as well. No longer is it a game or a race or a not-so-friendly competition. Now that they know more information about their parents’ deaths, they have a bigger reason to compete.

Justice.

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