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Children's LiteratureOn their eleventh birthday, Evie and Andrew's mother disappears. In this first book of what appears to be a series about their search for their mom, the twins move to a new town, make new friends and meet a strange neighbor who knows their mother and teaches them about spying and code breaking. They learn that their mother is still alive and disappeared in part because her presence put them in danger. It ends with their dad suddenly telling the twins they are moving again, to grab what they can and get in the car. The characters challenge gender stereotypes. Evie is socially adept, bigger, stronger and better at math. Andrew is shy, creative and scared of the local bully. Their father keeps the family in his wife's absence. But Lerangis doesn't reverse the gendered patterns to the point of parody. A sense of suspense is well maintained throughout the story and the puzzles are complicated enough that they cannot be broken easily, but simple enough that when the key is provided the targeted age group will have fun figuring out the coded messages. The next installment will undoubtedly begin in another city with a new message from mom. 2004, Apple/Scholastic, Ages 10 to 12.