Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation

S. & S. (Charlie Thorne). Sept. 2019. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534424760.
Gr 4 Up–Charlotte Thorne, aka “Charlie,” excels at everything. Only 12 years old, she is an intellectual prodigy who despises not just her uncaring, manipulative parents, but anyone or anything that seeks to exploit her intelligence for their own purposes. She enjoys taking chances, such as snowboarding with sorority girls rather than attending her college classes where she knows more than the professor. The book opens with Albert Einstein’s death and the immediate descent of CIA agents on his house. Charlie’s half-brother works for the CIA, and he manipulates her into helping them locate a formula created by Einstein that has been hidden since the 1930s. They want Charlie to solve the emerging clues for Pandora’s Box, an equation developed by Einstein that solves the world’s energy needs. However, various world powers and criminals are also racing to solve the formula’s intricate puzzles and develop a weapon of mass destruction. Initially, Charlie is unwilling to assist in the mission, but gives up the fight once her brother acknowledges that he is aware of a crime that Charlie committed that could send her away for a long time. The quest for the formula takes them from Israel to the Hubble Lab in California, following clues that look like mathematical equations. The inclusion of famous historical figures in a modern setting will effectively entice those interested in biographies, and the worldwide travel keeps the plot fresh. The action doesn’t slow down for a minute and readers will enjoy the journey. Puzzlingly, Charlie’s background doesn’t prepare her to be so skilled in hand-to-hand combat, and she can also be a bit bratty at times. However, these aspects pale in comparison to the writing skills of Gibbs.
VERDICT Run, don’t walk, to purchase this title. Readers will be thrilled with this amazing math-infused adventure. A first purchase.

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