(May 15, 2005; 0-439-65136-0)
Gr. 4-7. After their parents' conviction for treason in a high-profile case, Aiden and Meg Falconer were given a different last name and placed at Sunnydale Farm, a juvenile corrections facility in Nebraska. Still, they remain convinced of their parents' innocence. At the first opportunity, they escape and make their way across the country toward the family's summer cottage in Vermont. With little chance of evading detection, the children do whatever it takes (lying, breaking and entering, hopping a freight train) to remain free and gather evidence that might overturn their parents' conviction. The sympathetic though quickly sketched characters lead readers on an exciting chase that becomes more intense as they near the cottage. There, the young fugitives learn that they now have two pursuers: the police and a mysterious man who wants to kill them. When this fast-paced adventure ends, rather abruptly, some readers will theorize about the man's identity, while others will simply wait expectantly for the second book in the projected six-volume On the Run series. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2005 Booklist
(May 2, 2005; 0-439-65136-0)
Korman gets his On the Run series off to a snappy start with this quick-moving caper. Fifteen-year-old Aiden Falconer and his 11-year-old sister, Meg, have been exiled to a juvenile detention center in rural Nebraska since their parents were sentenced to life in prison. (They are criminologists who were recruited by the CIA to help identify international terrorist sleeper cells, and were falsely convicted of treason.) The siblings believe they can clear their parents' names if only they can track down Frank Lindenauer, an old family friend and CIA operative who recruited the couple and then disappeared. But first Aiden and Meg must escape from the center. They get their chance when Aiden inadvertently starts a fire, and the ensuing chaos allows them to slip away into the night. The twists and turns of their mission and the police in hot pursuit contribute to a pageturner of a plot. A few coincidences and some implausible luck cut into the tale's credibility, but its deftly honed suspense and the protagonists' likable personalities will keep kids hooked. Though they may feel let down by the story's dangling conclusion, readers are apt to reach for the series' next installment, The Fugitive Factor (0-439-65137-9), due out in June. Ages 9-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
KORMAN, Gordon. Chasing the Falconers. 154p. (On the Run Series, Bk. #1). Scholastic/Apple. 2005. pap. $4.99. ISBN 0-439-65136-0. LC number unavailable.
Gr 4-7In what CNN called the trial of the new millennium, Aiden and Meg Falconer's parents were convicted of treason and sentenced to life in jail. Respected criminologists with PhDs, they were asked by CIA Agent Frank Lindenauer to develop profiles that would help U.S. operatives identify terrorist cells throughout the world. He disappeared, and the FBI charged the Falconers with passing classified information to enemies. Their children were placed in a juvenile detention facility in Nebraska for their own safety. When the novel opens, they have been at Sunnydale Farm for four months. Aiden accidentally lights the place on fire and they escape. He remembers that nine years earlier he hid a picture of Lindenauer, known to him as “Uncle Frank,” in their summer house on Lake Champlain. If they can find him, perhaps they can prove their parents' innocence. With no plan and no money, they set off for Vermont. The police are in hot pursuit, but Aiden and Meg, along with another escapee, Miguel, elude them in one close call after another. At the book's abrupt and unresolved ending, the kids make it to their destination, where Miguel, mistaken for Aiden, is shot by a mysterious intruder. Short on cha