The Seventh Level
  • The Seventh Level
  • The Seventh Level

The Seventh Level

4.4 9
by Jody Feldman
     
 

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Lauer Middle School has a super-secret society—The Legend. No one knows who is in it. Or how they pull off the spectacular schoolwide events.

Seventh grader Travis Raines may be about to find out. A shiny blue envelope marked For Your Eyes Only mysteriously appears in his locker. You have been chosen, the message says. But if Travis is to become

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Overview

Lauer Middle School has a super-secret society—The Legend. No one knows who is in it. Or how they pull off the spectacular schoolwide events.

Seventh grader Travis Raines may be about to find out. A shiny blue envelope marked For Your Eyes Only mysteriously appears in his locker. You have been chosen, the message says. But if Travis is to become Legendary, he must first solve a series of mind-bending puzzles and complete their challenges. Then he needs to stay out of trouble. The assistant principal has her eye on him. So do his parents.

And even if he does all that's asked of him, Travis still has one question: is the message really from the Legend?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Twelve-year-old Travis is desperate to solve the seven puzzles that will allow him to become part of "The Legend," a mysterious school society about which "no one knows anything... except the members always use blue, they put on amazing school events, and they make you pass a test before they let you in." Unfortunately, there are a few things in Travis's way: the assistant principal, who follows his every move after catching him hanging off the school rooftop; his curious friends, who aren't allowed to be in on the secret; his nemesis, Randall; and a teacher who always finds Travis in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite the setbacks, Travis's boundless energy and inquisitive, mathematical mind allow him to zip through the puzzles until he realizes that something fishy is going on, and winds up confronted by a bigger mystery than he imagined. Feldman's (The Gollywhopper Games) story moves at warp speed, with the momentum of Travis's strong-spirited whims, resulting in a weightless, but nimble mystery with solid middle-grade appeal. Ages 10–up. (June)
ALA Booklist
“Nonstop action, appealing pencil illustrations, and increasingly difficult brainteasers will keep readers engaged.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The invitation to play along keeps readers tuned in.”
Kidsreads.com
“So much fun!”
Children's Literature - Debby Willett
Travis Raines is 12 years old and in middle school. His greatest desire is to be able to join The Legend. It is, however, very secret, by invitation only, and no one ever, ever talks about it. Then one day, a shiny blue envelope mysteriously shows up in his locker. One of the requirements of The Legend is staying out of trouble. It is too bad for Travis that he keeps getting into trouble. That first letter from The Legend somehow goes flying out the second story window. To retrieve it, Travis makes a daring rescue from the roof, where he meets Assistant Principal Mrs. Pinchon when he comes back up. She is in charge of discipline, but for some reason she decides to go easier on Travis. She also keeps telling him, "Things aren't always as they appear, remember that." Shiny blue envelopes continue appear in his locker, and soon he finds other blue envelopes addressed to him in another locker. Some messages could get him into trouble, and others remind him to stay out of trouble. What's a twelve-year-old to do when he can't talk with anyone about any of the messages—they are supposed to be secret! Travis has a dilemma on his hands. He has to follow the directions in the blue envelopes, but are they really from The Legend? And, why are the envelopes different? Travis tries to remember what Mrs. Pinchon said, "Things aren't always as they appear." Will he succeed, or will Travis wind up in more trouble? Ms. Feldman's story of a struggle for a twelve-year-old boy trying to determine what is the right thing to do in light of such great motivation. I found it laborious to read through—perhaps the same story could have been told in half the pages. Reviewer: Debby Willett
VOYA - Heather Christensen
Like The Gollywhopper Games (Greenwillow, 2008), Feldman's latest book combines mind-bending puzzles with an attention-grabbing plot. It all begins when seventh grader Travis Raines receives a mysterious blue envelope bearing the message that begins, "You have been chosen for this game of sorts." It doesn't say for certain, but Raines is convinced that it is an invitation from the super secret but prestigious group at his middle school known only as The Legend. The message does say that if he follows all of the rules and solves all of the puzzles, he'll "be privilege to our secrets and rewards." Unfortunately, although he's a whiz at solving brainteasers, he also has a penchant for getting in trouble, with hours of detention with the assistant principal to show for it. Not only that, but some of the assignments lead him to question the source—are the blue envelopes really from The Legend, or is someone trying to purposely get him in hot water, thereby ruining his chances of ever becoming part of The Legend? Clever twists and turns in the plot will keep readers on their toes. While most of the characters are not well developed, readers will be too busy solving puzzles and trying to figure out who is helping Raines—and who is hindering him—to notice. Give this to fans of mysteries where solving puzzles plays an important role, like Blue Balliet's Chasing Vermeer (Scholastic, 2004/VOYA December 2004) or Eric Berlin's The Puzzling World of Winston Breen (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2007/VOYA February 2008). Reviewer: Heather Christensen
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Travis Raines thinks he is being considered for The Legend, a secret society at his middle school. He receives blue envelopes that are labeled, "For Your Eyes Only." Over a couple of weeks, he is asked to complete seven puzzles and their corresponding tasks, and he must keep everything a secret. He also needs to do what he's been told without getting into trouble, which is tough when people don't take him seriously. Furthermore, some of the tasks have a cruel undertone. Could the messages really be from The Legend, or are they from an impostor group trying to get Travis in trouble? While the idea is exciting, the plot never quite reaches its potential. At times, the story is slow moving and even somewhat confusing. While Travis's characterization is complete, the others lack depth. The book does have strengths, though: the puzzles are fun to solve, the mystery of the envelopes is appealing, and Travis is a likable protagonist.—Sarah K. Allen, Elko Middle School, Sandston, VA
Kirkus Reviews
At Lauer Middle School, an invitation to join "The Legend," a supersecret group that plans community-service projects, is the most exciting honor imaginable. Seventh grader Travis Raines isn't particularly brainy; he excels at getting into innocent trouble. He's also pretty good at getting out of it. When a shiny blue envelope appears in his locker with a brainteaser and a set of rules, Travis can't believe The Legend wants him. As usual, he ends up getting in his own way and runs afoul of the vice-principal in charge of discipline. Can he follow all the rules while navigating the seven levels of induction into The Legend and find out who keeps trying to get him in deeper trouble? Feldman's second puzzlecentric effort is a mixed bag at best (The Gollywhopper Games, 2008). The mostly dull plot hangs on coincidence and isn't saved by the seemingly random puzzles, some of which are anything but puzzling. Moreover, Travis's distracting, vigorous and entirely un-seventh grader-like use of the word "oaf" defies credibility. Give your brainteaser fans Carey Benedict's The Unknowns (2009) instead. (Mystery. 8-11)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The invitation to play along keeps readers tuned in."
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“The invitation to play along keeps readers tuned in.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The invitation to play along keeps readers tuned in.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061951053
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/25/2010
Pages:
298
Sales rank:
1,408,904
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile:
630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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