From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7–In what CNN called the trial of the new millennium, Aiden and Meg Falconer's parents were convicted of treason and sentenced to life in jail. Respected criminologists with PhDs, they were asked by CIA Agent Frank Lindenauer to develop profiles that would help U.S. operatives identify terrorist cells throughout the world. He disappeared, and the FBI charged the Falconers with passing classified information to enemies. Their children were placed in a juvenile detention facility in Nebraska for their own safety. When the novel opens, they have been at Sunnydale Farm for four months. Aiden accidentally lights the place on fire and they escape. He remembers that nine years earlier he hid a picture of Lindenauer, known to him as Uncle Frank, in their summer house on Lake Champlain. If they can find him, perhaps they can prove their parents' innocence. With no plan and no money, they set off for Vermont. The police are in hot pursuit, but Aiden and Meg, along with another escapee, Miguel, elude them in one close call after another. At the book's abrupt and unresolved ending, the kids make it to their destination, where Miguel, mistaken for Aiden, is shot by a mysterious intruder. Short on character development and at times melodramatic and straining credulity in the children's ability to elude authorities, this is a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that kids will read in one sitting. Appropriate for reluctant readers and those addicted to television action shows, it is the first in a projected six-title series.–Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
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Gr. 4-7. After their parents' conviction for treason in a high-profile case, Aiden and Meg Falconer were given a different last name and placed at Sunnydale Farm, a juvenile corrections facility in Nebraska. Still, they remain convinced of their parents' innocence. At the first opportunity, they escape and make their way across the country toward the family's summer cottage in Vermont. With little chance of evading detection, the children do whatever it takes (lying, breaking and entering, hopping a freight train) to remain free and gather evidence that might overturn their parents' conviction. The sympathetic though quickly sketched characters lead readers on an exciting chase that becomes more intense as they near the cottage. There, the young fugitives learn that they now have two pursuers: the police and a mysterious man who wants to kill them. When this fast-paced adventure ends, rather abruptly, some readers will theorize about the man's identity, while others will simply wait expectantly for the second book in the projected six-volume On the Run series. Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved