Synopsis (from Goodreads):
After Ben Warner is recruited to join a “science camp” led by the eccentric quantum physicist Dr. Madeleine Hughes, he quickly realizes it’s no regular science camp. Along with his new friend, Peter, Ben discovers the secret, powerful art of Actuation—the ability to change reality by simply imagining it differently.
When a mysterious group of men invade Dr. Hughes’s laboratory, abducting her and stealing her precious equipment, Ben and Peter are suddenly caught up in a turf war between dangerous actuators desperate for Dr. Hughes’s innovative technology. And as Ben and Peter are pulled into a perilous, hidden world full of impossibilities now made possible, will their combined powers be enough to save Dr. Hughes and vanquish their enemies before it’s too late?
This one will be a short review, because I already turned my copy of the book back into the library. I basically got this one solely because I am a huge fan of Kirby's other books (two of which rank in my all-time favorites), and I was ready to give him the benefit of the doubt. I guess I'm glad I did, but I wasn't exactly blown away by this book. It reminded me a lot of Gordon Korman's The Hypnotists but was, with all due respect to another amazing author, better than it. It was less convoluted, more compelling, and provided a more realistic (relatively, okay?) storyline.
But enough about comparisons. Ranked on its own, this was an okay book. I think I would rate it a lot higher if I was a twelve-year-old boy (or frankly, even a twelve-year-old girl). It's leagues above most trash I've read in the genre, and is much better than the cover suggests. I doubt I'll re-read it anytime soon, but I might read the sequel if I can get hold of it without much trouble.
The characterizations, while strong, left no real impression on me. Ben is the kind of hero you admire and whom you can easily envision yourself being. He's like a braver, stronger version of the reader.
Okay, I really have nothing else to say. I wasn't going to review this so I turned it back in, and then I changed my mind because I realized there are a lot of people out there looking for just this sort of book to give to their middle schoolers. If you're one of those people, or if you've got an hour or two to kill, go ahead and check this book out. It's not exactly a break-out novel, but there isn't really anything I can say against it, either. In fact, I had quite a bit of fun reading it!