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Genius Squad Hardcover – May 1, 2008

26 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Genius Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–9—In Evil Genius (Harcourt, 2007), Cadel Piggott used his amazing brain for crime, and lived to regret the results. In this entertaining sequel, he joins a secret group of computer whizzes working on a more constructive, but still dangerous project. While using his hacking skills and forging friendships, he tries to steer clear of his notorious father, who threatens his safety even from prison. The first half of the book focuses on setting up elaborate schemes and establishing characters, and the details slow the plot down a bit. Action really picks up in the last 100 pages or so, though, as Cadel and the people he loves the most are endangered by his father. Readers who relished the complex plotting, sharp characterizations, and technological intrigue of the first book will enjoy this one, which includes a shift in atmosphere that gives this installment a slightly different flavor. Having rejected the destructive philosophy of his tutor/father, Cadel truly wants to do good this time. New relationships and powerful, sometimes conflicting, emotions affect the way he now applies his talents. As a character, he's less instantly engaging than he was in the first book, but ultimately more interesting. Fans of Evil Genius will have the easiest time catching on to the action, but others should be able to keep up. A satisfying ending answers some questions regarding Cadel's personal situation while setting the stage for a future showdown.—Steven Engelfried, Multnomah County Library, OR
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From Booklist

Cut loose from his manipulative guardians in Evil Genius (2007), 15-year-old Cadel now endures the humiliations of social welfare (e.g., a foster mom who says things like “This is sleep time, Cadel. This isn’t computer time”) on top of the stresses of being a protected witness in the Axis Institute investigations. So when Cadel and his math-genius pal, Sonja, are offered spots at a group home “for bright kids,” the friends quickly agree—fully aware that they’re actually joining a group of teen computer hackers recruited to take down a rotten corporation. This sequel is an odd mix. Amid confusing, technical details of cyberespionage, Cadel’s relationships with two kind, concerned grown-ups often are more the stuff of heartwarming middle-grade fiction than YA technological thriller. Also, wheelchair-bound Sonja doesn’t do much beyond inspire Cadel’s compassionate reflections about the challenges of cerebral palsy. The novel lacks the sly tone and psychological depth of its predecessor, but readers craving high-tech escapades will find plenty of them here, along with a revelation-spiked finale that lays the groundwork for the trilogy closer. Grades 7-10. --Jennifer Mattson

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1 edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152059857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152059859
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,136,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

CATHERINE JINKS was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1963. She grew up in Papua New Guinea and later spent four years studying medieval history at the University of Sydney. After working for several years in a bank, she married a Canadian journalist and lived for a short time in Nova Scotia, Canada. She is now a full-time writer, residing in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales with her husband Peter and their daughter Hannah.Catherine is a three-time winner of the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year award, and has also won a Victorian Premier's Literature Award, the Ena Noel Award for Children's Literature, and an Aurealis Award for Science Fiction. In 2001 she was presented with a Centenary Medal for her contribution to Australian Children's Literature.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on July 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Cadel Piggott returns in this action-filled sequel to EVIL GENIUS, but he's not the same teen. The Cadel readers knew in the first book loved to create havoc just for the fun of it. However, after his life-threatening experiences at the Axis Institute with his father, Prosper English, he just wants to be a good person --- and even happy. He is helped in this change of conscience by his best friend, the paraplegic math genius, Sonja. In GENIUS SQUAD, other allies help fight Prosper and his evil, but he also finds more layers of enemies and surprises.

Cadel has an earnest social worker named Fiona who tries to protect him in a new foster home. He can go nowhere without police protection, though, as authorities are aware that Prosper once tried to kill him. He is now a key witness to the evils that went on at the Axis Institute and to Prosper's many illegal activities. Prosper is behind bars, though Cadel knows that barrier is nothing to another genius like himself and has seen the lengths to which Prosper will go. But he still feels that he's safe; after all, Prosper did not kill him when he had the chance before.

Prosper is always good at making trouble, and he is now denying that he's Cadel's father. This means that Cadel has no father on record, and with a dead mother, no citizenship in any country. So he cannot leave Australia, though the country will not recognize him. He is not allowed to take classes of any kind and is desperately bored. The foster home is run by well-meaning parents, but they are also the caretakers for a couple of other children, including the bully Mace. While Cadel tries hard to stay on the path of good, Mace pushes his buttons too far, and he develops a strategy to hurt him while still looking innocent. Mace promises revenge.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on May 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Cadel, the scrawny, nerdy boy from EVIL GENIUS, is back in GENIUS SQUAD, a bit more grown up, a lot more responsible, and trapped in a foster home with a bully and without a computer.

He's miserable as he tries to bide his time until the slow-moving authorities can find out who he is and where he belongs. It is as he is waiting that the Genius Squad approaches him.

Devoted to bringing down one of Dr. Darkkon's operations, GenoME, the Genius Squad wants Cadel to help them. But Cadel is naturally suspicious and paranoid.

Can he really trust the Genius Squad, or is his hesitance to trust them warranted?

This book has even more action and quick thinking than the first! Each page builds up suspense that culminates into a surprise scenario that will leave you scrambling to catch up. Though it contains more computer and hacking references than its prequel, that doesn't deduct from its appeal.

This is one series that is sure to entrance even the most reluctant reader, especially with an ending that is wide open to accommodate another sequel, THE GENIUS WARS.

Reviewed by: The Compulsive Reader
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The Compulsive Reader VINE VOICE on May 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Cadel Piggott is back...only he doesn't know who he is. His adoptive parents were really just secret agents who were pretending to be his parents, and with Dr. Darkkon now dead and English Prosper refusing to acknowledge him, Cadel is being jumbled into the system, stuck in a dismal foster home. Though his social worker and detective mean well, they're overbearing and can't seem to understand his need for a computer of his own.

So when he is approached by the Genius Squad on the sly, offering both him and his only friend Sonja an opportunity to take down GenoME, one of Darkkon's ironclad projects, he leaps at the chance...even though the group may not be as secure as he'd like if Prosper were to escape.

Just as harrowing and blazing fast as its prequel, Genius Squad is a winner. You'll have to pay rapt attention as the story unfolds in order to not miss a single detail. Full of computer jargon, wonderfully clever tricks, and sometimes confusing numerous subplots, this is one adventure that is packed full of action from beginning to end. Cadel's character is a bit more grown up, and his actions and feelings reflect his new maturity, which will especially appeal to the older teen. Jinks's Genius series is the Ocean's 11 for teens--and that's high praise!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Willey Leung on August 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is definitely for anyone who's a fan of the original Evil Genius. Interesting plot but the book lacked some of the better twist and turns of the original. The characters also feel a little less convincing / powerful when compared to the original. Not to give anything away but I felt Cadel really got turned into shadow of his old self and have none of the cunnings we saw earlier. (Uh oh, found myself agreeing with English on that front...)

Overall, interesting read. Well worth the time and effort. I am looking forward to the next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Fleming on October 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed Evil Genius, largely because of the sense that I couldn't quite figure out where Cadgel's morals would take him. Having more or less settled who he is by the end of the first book, the second one didn't have that same tension, and thus didn't quite captivate as much. Still, a good follow-up, and I can recommend it (but only after you've read the first book). (It's labeled for young adult, and I guess that's right, but I'm a bit older that that category and still liked it!)
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