Reviews for Bringing Down the Mouse


Booklist Reviews 2014 July #1
Charlie is a genius at math and a whiz at probability. So he has a good idea what to expect from sixth grade at Nagassack Middle School: verbal humiliation and physical intimidation to go along with his good grades. He already has a semi-derogatory nickname, Numbers, and he and his friends at the genius table in the cafeteria get called the Dork Brigade or Nerd Herd. He was not expecting a couple of cool older kids to recruit him into a supersmart gang that meets in secret to practice beating carnival games. Who would? Mezrich is the Harvard-educated author of the adult book Bringing Down the House (2002), about six MIT students who took their card-counting skills to Las Vegas and cleaned up. This age-adjusted version takes Charlie and his coconspirators to a Disneyland-esque theme park, where they are manipulated by their mentor into beating a game with a substantial payout. Mezrich addresses themes of loyalty and honesty while keeping the action tight and the dialogue snappy. Unexpectedly engrossing. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2014 June #1
Math, chemistry and a little physics look to defeat midway games at a Florida theme park.Pleased to be asked to join a group of smart, interesting kids to work on a secret project, sixth-grader Charlie "Numbers" Lewis goes along with a plan to win a contest at Incredo Land. Thriller-writer Mezrich brings themes he's used in popular adult titles including Bringing Down the House (2002) to his first middle-grade foray. Charlie has a perfectly good group of long-time friends, known as the Geek Squad (or Dork Brigade, or Nerd Herd…), whom he nearly abandons in favor of the Carnival Killers, led by two supercool seventh graders and a beautiful teacher's aide. He spends all his free time practicing midway gaming skills and thinking about defeating the Wheel of Wonder so that when he and best friend Jeremy go on the class trip, he can win the park's annual contest. Oddly, his friends don't mind; when Charlie needs them, they step up to make his final triumph possible. The author's breathless writing leans heavily on telling rather than showing. The middle school bullies are overdrawn, and the quirkiness of Charlie's friends is exaggerated. There's more sensation than substance in this page-turner.Fast-paced and full of behind-the-scenes detail, this will be an easy sell to readers not too picky about their prose. (Thriller. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2014 May

Gr 4-8--Charlie sees everything in terms of mathematical equations, which has earned him the nickname Numbers. He hangs out with the Whiz Kids until the day he is invited to join a secret gang, the Carnival Killers, a group of clever middle schoolers led by a mysterious college kid. They plan on using math and physics to perpetrate a scheme to scam the scammers, those infamous carnival games that no one can ever win. But as Charlie gets pulled into the plan and begins to apply his logical and mathematical intellect to the games, something just doesn't quite add up. The pacing is well developed, building tension to almost a fever pitch as the Carnival Killers perfect their skills and arrive at Incredo Land to take on the biggest scam of all. The mystery of who is truly behind the schemes adds another dimension to the adventure. The plot has several unexpected and well-placed twists, and keeps readers guessing until the very end. A good fit for fans of Gordon Korman's "Swindle" series (Scholastic, 2008).--Gretchen Crowley, Alexandria City Public Libraries, VA

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