Chester Keene Cracks the Code
Cracking the code isn't all it's cracked up to be in this scavenger hunt adventure from a Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author.
“Delivers a truly fresh mystery — along with a heist, some heartbreak, some unforgettable characters and plenty of laser tag.” —The New York Times Book Review
Chester Keene takes great comfort in his routines. Afterschool Monday to Thursday is bowling, and Friday, the best of days, is laser tag! But Chester has one other very special thing—he gets secret spy messages from his dad, who must be on covert government assignments, which is why Chester has never met him.
Then one day, Chester’s classmate, Skye, approaches him with a clue. They’ve been tasked with a complex puzzle-solving mission. Skye proves to be a useful partner and good company, even if her free-wheeling ways are disruptive to Chester’s carefully built schedule.
As Chester and Skye get closer to their final clue, they discover the key to their spy assignment: they have to stop a heist! But cracking this code may mean finding out things are not always what they seem.
Magoon (The Season of Styx Malone) skillfully blends family, friendship, and forgiveness in this endearing adventure starring spy-in-training Chester Keene. Eleven-year-old biracial (Black and white) Chester lives alone with his mother, having never met his father. Nevertheless, Chester credits his dad whom he believes to be a covert agent, and who mails him spy books and offers advice, such as how to navigate bullies, through email exchanges for his own inclination toward spy work. After a mysterious envelope containing an unfinished riddle, seemingly from his dad, appears on his doorstep, Chester becomes embroiled in a puzzle-laden scavenger hunt with an important prize at the end. Joined by Japanese American and white classmate Skye, who inexplicably has the missing puzzle pieces, the two search across town for the remaining clues. But as they encounter nefarious locals, the duo fear that their once lighthearted hunt has higher stakes than they initially thought. Skye's chaotic puzzle-solving skills complement Chester's meticulousness, and their joy in code-cracking is palpable. Astutely conceived riddles and Chester's lively first-person narration deliver an action-packed mystery that highlights trusting in the bonds of friends and family, and encourages having patience with loved ones. Ages 8 12.