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BRIAN FALKNER attended a three-month writing residency at the University of Iowa's International Writing Program in 2008. He arrived in Iowa City not long after devastating floods had ravaged the region. His experience there became the inspiration for "The Project." To learn more about Brian and his books, visit brianfalkner.com.
Gr 6-9-Luke and Tommy are sure that the book they have been assigned for a school project is the most boring one in the world. But which book can really claim that status? Challenged to find out, they do some research and stumble upon Leonardo's River, written 200 years before World War II and rumored to be so deadly dull that no one could ever finish it. Improbably, the boys discover the only existing copy in their public library-but they aren't the only ones interested in the volume. When they take it and are violently pursued by a megalomaniacal millionaire, they realize that there must be more to the book than meets the eye. Indeed, a deadly secret hides within its yawn-worthy passages and sleep-inducing chapters. Suspense builds as the friends uncover a kidnapping, a network of neo-Nazis, and plans for a nuclear bomb. The story transitions from mystery-adventure to science fiction with the revelation that the most boring book in the world contains coded instructions for the operation of a time machine that the neo-Nazis plan to use to change the course of World War II. Who better to travel back to 1940s Germany and foil a Nazi plot than two gutsy teenage guys? The wacky unbelievability of this story in no way detracts from its enjoyment. It reads like an action movie, with plenty of chases, explosions, and by-a-hair escapes. A good choice for reluctant readers, particularly boys.-Emma Burkhart, Springside School, Philadelphia, PA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.