Monday, February 7, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday--The 39 Clues (plus a giveaway!)

*Phew* After a couple of strange weeks, Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday is finally back to normal! (hee, we'll see how long it lasts--February is kind of a crazy month). And today I'm featuring a series that--I'll confess--I didn't think I was going to like. But I LOVED it: THE 39 CLUES.


Here's the blurb for the first book, THE MAZE OF BONES, by Rick Riordan:

What would happen if you discovered that your family was one of the most powerful in human history? What if you were told that the source of the family's power was hidden around the world, in the form of 39 Clues? What if you were given a choice — take a million dollars and walk away...or get the first Clue? If you're Amy and Dan Cahill, you take the Clue — and begin a very dangerous race.

At this point you're probably thinking um...that sounds really cool--and I thought you loved Rick Riordan. All of which is true. So why didn't I think I would like it?

Honestly, it was the format of the series. Multiple authors writing the different books, so they could push a book out every few months. And such a huge focus on an interactive website and supplemental card game. I don't know, all of that just made me think the quality of the story and writing would be sub-par. Sometimes I can be a book snob. :P

But I AM a huge Rick Riordan fan, so eventually I had to give it a chance. And I am happy to say my concerns were completely and utterly unfounded. I was hooked from the very first sentence, and raced through the entire series as fast as I could read. These books are hilarious, the plot is fact-paced and interesting, and characters are great. I have no doubt kids would love them.

And kids aren't the only ones. My husband--who is NOT a reader (I can *barely* get him to read my stuff)--has read the entire series. I know. I'm stunned too. But he's a history nerd, so he was curious about the way the books take historical figures and weave them into the central mystery. And he loved them. So much so that he even played the online game, which he said was really well done. (Um, btw, I should probably mention that he's just as big of a kid as I am. He's just not a reader).

So yeah, they're fantastic books, and definitely worth giving a try. And to make it easier for you to do that, I'm giving away a copy of the first book in the series, THE MAZE OF BONES, to one lucky commenter on this post. To enter, make sure you're a follower of my blog and leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm PST on Saturday, Feb. 12th. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Feb. 13th. International entries welcome.

And...go!

For more awesome MG recommendation:

- Check out what the lovely Shannon O'Donnell's blog. She can always be counted on for an incredible MMGM. Go HERE and see what she's featuring today.


- Ben Langhinrichs also makes his MMGM debut with a spotlight on the books of Eva Ibbotson. Click HERE to check it out. 


-Brooke Favero also has a MMGM feature on one of my favorite MG books THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY. Go HERE to see her thoughts.


-Joanne Fritz is back with another MMGM, this time on THE WONDER OF CHARLIE ANNE, by Kimberly Newton Fusco. Click HERE to read all about it. 

And if you've done an MMGM on your blog and would like me to link you, let me know. I'd be happy to update this post. 

Happy Monday!

48 comments:

  1. I loved The Maze of Bones and have a copy. So give it to someone else. I didn't finish the series. Maybe I should reconsider since you and your husband loved it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I haven't read the 39 Clues series because my reactions were similar to your initial ones. But sign me up for the contest!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have to admit, my initial thoughts were the same as yours, but I've read the first four Percy Jackson books since the start of the year, so I'm going to be looking for more Rick Riordan. I think I might start here after all!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I first heard about this series at the SCBWI Conference last month. It sounds REALLY interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  5. My MMGM post is up at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Eva Ibbotson.

    As for your pick, it looks good. My son is a huge fan of Riordan's later work. I'll give it a try, and since we are always "borrowing" each other's books, I imagine he will read them too,

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'd love to read The Maze of Bones. Thanks for the great contest!
    k_anon[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've seen this around. It sounds really enticing. I'll have to check it out. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  8. +JMJ+

    It is a fantastic series! I borrowed the first five books from an eager student who overrode my own book-snobb-ish reservations, and I'm glad I did! The only sad part is that I don't have my own copies. So please enter my name in the draw! Thanks so much. =)

    altaemoeniaRomae
    [at]
    Gmail
    [dot]
    com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was excited to see this series highlighted...I was kind of like you, and thought it might be mostly hype, but guess what? It's one of the few series that has my stepson eager to read (The Hunger Games is another). I actually haven't read the books yet, but this is a great reminder to put them on my list. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I haven't read the series but my 11 yo loved them. Now I have to get my 8 yo reluctant reader to try them out. But he'll complain they're baby books because they're so short . . . not that he has ever finished a book that he would classify as a non-baby book. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. how can you not love Rick Riordan?!?

    ReplyDelete
  12. I haven't read these, but wondered about them. Thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I didn't know Rick Riordan wrote some of them! Well, now I have to read them! :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. sounds like a good read! I'm in! And so great your hubby got hooked!

    ReplyDelete
  15. My 11 yo blazed through this series and LOVED IT! He was always reading us quotes from it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. My oldest son loves this series and is always nagging me to read it. Like you, Shannon, the multiple authors and the interactive computer stuff hooked my inner book snob and I have yet to take the bait.

    We do have a copy so, in the unlikely event of my winning (which would be supremely ironic) please pass it on to the runner-up (unless the runner-up is Natalie Aguirre, who's in the same boat as me. In which case your random number generator will probably explode.)

    Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Awesome! This was next on my list. Thanks, Shannon.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've also been luke warm about starting The 39 Clues. It seemed more like a gimmic than a cohesive story, but I've also heard they are really fun and fabluous.

    I'm in with your MMGM. My link:
    Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Mysterious Benedict Society

    http://brookefavero.blogspot.com/2011/02/marvelous-middle-grade-monday.html

    cheers

    ReplyDelete
  19. I didn't read Rick riordan's book when they first came out because I thought they were not my genre but...but then I gave them a try and I loved them!
    So Sign me up for the contest!

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have plowed through these and really enjoyed them. Would love to own them too. I got them from the library at the time. Dying for my kids to read them but one is still reading the new Rick Riordan and the other is plowing through Michael Scott's series. In good time.

    ReplyDelete
  21. My husband loves middle grade and is a big Rick Riordan fan...of course, I am too, but it's great when the hubs is hooked. Why have I not heard about these? I'd love to have a copy :) Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great series! I would love to win so I could donate it to the Austin Children's Shelter. So far...we have gathered over 500 books. Thanks!

    jenbigheart at yahoo dot com

    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  23. Good choice, #1! Both my boys love the 39 Clues. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  24. They sound like a great series and one my husband might even read!
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    lexie.bookbug(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
  25. This book sounds SO interesting! I'd love to read it!

    ReplyDelete
  26. My son has read the Percy Jackson series multiple times. Sounds like 39 Clues may be the series to lure him on to new stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Would love to read this

    vidishamun[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Maze of Bones. I'm up to book 5 in the series (though other more "serious" and/or "heavy" books keep getting in the way) and I love the way the mystery and adventure is playing out.

    Such a fun series and great for younger readers.

    ReplyDelete
  29. These are great books! My son loves them. :D

    ReplyDelete
  30. the fact your husband loved them is like the ultimate rec!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks for the link love, Shannon!

    Wow, that's an enthusiastic review! I enjoyed the first 39 Clues book, but like Natalie and some other commenters, I never read past that. Don't enter me for the contest, because I already own MAZE OF BONES!

    Guess I'll have to keep reading the rest of the series.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Sounds totally interesting. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

    ReplyDelete
  33. Please don't enter me! but I wanted to share that I love this series. They do hook kids! I read the first one aloud to my students last year and many went on to read the whole series. I was also lucky enough to meet Patrick Carmen who wrote one of them and he explained some of how they wrote the series. Pretty cool!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I haven't read any of this series, but a fourth grade teacher at my school just read it to her class and was saying how much SHE enjoyed it. I always say when an adult enjoys a middle-grade book for him or herself, then that's a really great book. I'm looking forward to reading it for myself.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'd love to play please.

    Already following your blog.

    lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  36. I was reading this book to myself in class - and laughing to myself as I went. One of the kids begged to have the book - I caved and haven't been able to finish it yet!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm glad you shared this. I'm also worried about hte different authors for each book thing.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I always love your Momday Middle Grade reviews. Since I have a definitely-hates-pink grand daughter who also has a hard time getting into reading, I'm always looking for something to wet her appetite with. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Count me in on this one, please! I heard it's a good series. I know someone who got the first book for Christmas, and seemed real excited about getting it.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I've been intrigued by them but was concerned it was just marketing and no substance. But your review has me convinced! If I don't win the first book, I may just have to find it anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  41. I've heard a lot about this series, but like you hadn't felt the need to pick it up. But your review has changed my mind. Count me in :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. You know, I've been feeling the same way about this series. Just kind of put off by gaming aspect of it (either real or perceived). But now that you've reviewed it, I'm interested! Darn it! My TBR pile doth grow higher and higher!

    ~Jen

    ReplyDelete
  43. Finally someone who knows my pain, when it comes to a spouse that isn't a reader. I doubt this series would entice him to read though. But, I am always on the lookout for something I can read with my son.
    I am a follower.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I haven't read this series yet, but would love to start reading it with my boys...I think they'd have fun with it!

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  45. I am a book snob, too... which means I've been avoiding this series, but your recommendation makes me think I should give it a shot.

    Best Wishes,
    Joseph

    ReplyDelete
  46. I haven't read any book of this series yet. But i really want to do with my little sister.
    Thanks for the giveaway!!!

    artgiote at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  47. Got the book today Shannon, thanks!
    I blogged it. :)
    http://www.aworkinprogress.net/2011/02/wordlessish-wednesday-february-23th.html

    ReplyDelete

Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Friendly debate is fine, but always be kind to each other). <3