Jude Watson, who wrote Book Four in The 39 Clues series, Beyond the Grave, picks up the story of Amy and Dan Cahill, in their hunt for the 39 Clues, in In Too Deep, the sixth book. This story is exciting and fast-paced. But, it's more than just a well-written adventure story. In Too Deep explores the secrets behind the death of Amy and Dan's parents, and forces Amy to look deep inside herself.
Amy's only fourteen, but she sees herself as the responsible one. She sees Dan, even though he's eleven, as her baby brother, and doesn't trust herself to tell him about her fears. And, Amy is very fearful. As the two continue their competitive hunt, that will make the family members that win, the most powerful people in the world, Amy can't trust anyone. She thinks the scariest part of the race is "having to be suspicious of every single person on the planet."
And, she certainly doesn't expect to trust Irina Spasky, the former KGB agent that grabs, and warns her. "You are afraid of everything except what you should fear." And, when Irina forces Amy to try to remember her parents' death, Amy only blames herself.
It's another well-written book that takes the reader to Australia, and then Java. The designated audience, ages nine to twelve, will appreciate the descriptions of dangerous spiders and snakes in Australia. They'll probably be fascinated by Coober Pedy, where people live underground. And, the surfing scene, with Amy and Dan's surfing bum cousin, along with one of the family branches, is truly fun. Adults will find the inclusion of Amelia Earhart and Czar Nicholas II more interesting than the target audience.
I've read all six books in The 39 Clues series. Each book provides fascinating history and background of different countries as the various family branches compete against each other, travelling the world. But, as an adult reading these books, I appreciate the deeper examination of character. Irina Spasky's motivations have been analyzed in both book five and six. Watson skillfully relates Irina's feelings, and Amy's fears.
What more can you say about a juvenile novel with a title of In Too Deep, a title with multiple meanings? As the brother and sister continue their hunt, they're in too deep to turn back. The deeper they go in the hunt, the less they trust anyone, even their au pair, Nellie. I'm not playing the 39 Clues game, hunting the clues, but I'm now In Too Deep to let this series go. Book Seven will be out in February. I'll be waiting.
Readers can join the hunt at www.the39clues.com.
In Too Deep (The 39 Clues Series #6) by Jude Watson. Scholastic, Inc., ©2009. ISBN 9780545060462 (hardcover), 206p.
FTC Full Disclosure: Scholastic sent me a review copy of this book, in the hope I would review it.