WHEN UNEARTHING A NATIONAL TREASURE BECOMES A NATIONAL INCIDENT
Inspired by True Events
Dennis Alexander: Washington Academy Middle School promises to be another in the long line of boring schools he has been expelled from.
Rhonda Snodgrass: Although trained from childhood in survival tactics, she tries to stay off the radar of the “cool” kids who think she’s weird.
7th grade turns out to be anything but normal when teachers announce the students’ bloodless revolution succeeded and they are now in charge. After conducting a secret-ballot vote on policy, the 7th graders emerge to find the school evacuated and the FBI lurking outside with the task of unearthing a treasure of national importance.
The students’ mission is clear—discover the treasure before the FBI locks down the building. Dennis and Rhonda lead the revolt and must work together to follow century-old clues left by a crazy Revolutionary War buff.
To stay one step ahead of the FBI, they must delve into history and amass an arsenal to defend their school … because this is WAR!
|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.75(d)|
|Age Range:||9 - 12 Years|
Read an Excerpt
The gentle flump of a fly against the window caught his attention. Dennis eyed it as the fly repeatedly bumped against the pane. Stupid thing. Lucky to be outside and didn't know it. He gazed beyond the fly and longed to be out in the Fall air. Why did the school have to be nestled against the Blue Ridge Mountains?
Hiking on the trails, fishing in the river, or even rambling through the cemetery — better than being cooped up in a stuffy classroom all day. He closed his eyes and imagined trading places with the fly. Tilting his chair against the back wall, he rubbed the shark tooth hanging from his paracord necklace. You wouldn't catch him trying to get into a classroom; he'd soar all over town — a short flight. Then he'd fly over Humpback Mountain to the Blue Ridge Parkway and zigzag along toward Asheville, North Carolina.
Maddie Harper's voice made Dennis's eyes pop open, drawn to where she entered the breakout room. His fingers froze then slid off the tooth. The way she looked oughta be against the rules. Her short plaid skirt, barely regulation length, flounced as she made her way through the room, greeting friends.
Not that she'd ever pay him any attention. His reputation for getting kicked out of schools got to Washington Academy before he did. A loser in her eyes, and he wouldn't be around long enough for her to bother with.
Dennis remembered the pep talk from his dad, Charles, before being sent to Washington Academy Middle School. A pep talk mixed with warnings about what would happen if he got kicked out this time. Charles had laced encouragement with threats while lecturing him with things like, "You've got a brain in your head, why don't you use it?" The worst threat? Military school. Charles had gone on and on about how military school would straighten him out.
Maybe Dennis should be thankful. In one lecture, Charles had said more to Dennis than in the last six months, combined. Charles had even told him their chauffeur, Ben, would drop him off and pick him up every day. Like Ben hadn't done the same thing at his past three schools. Dennis was surprised Charles hadn't had Ben deliver the speech. Dennis talked with Ben a lot more than he did his dad because Charles traveled so much.
Spencer Jackson pulled a tarantula on a string out of his pocket and dangled it behind Selena Woodham's head. His buddies nearly fell off their chairs trying to suppress their laughter while Spencer inched the spider closer to Selena's shoulder.
Dennis shook his head. The Halloween decorations were barely up and Spencer was already busy playing pranks. Selena was so caught up in her conversation with Terese she didn't flinch when the tarantula landed on her shoulder. Spencer used the string to brush Selena's cheek with a fuzzy spider leg.
Selena shrieked and bolted out of her chair.
Spencer laughed so hard his face turned red. He bounced the spider on the end of the string. "Wooooooo. I vant to drink your blood."
Selena put her hands on her hips. "Get your Halloween stuff straight. Especially if you plan to scare the living daylights out of someone. Vampires don't make ghost noises and the animal is a bat, not a stupid fake spider."
The door swung open and Ms. Rectanus bustled in. Maybe his class would find out why the entire seventh grade had been asked to gather in the Morgan room instead of their regular classrooms.
She glanced in his direction as she passed. "Mr. Alexander, all four legs belong on the floor."
Dennis pushed off the wall and brought the chair down with a thud.
Shifting the books she carried to her other arm, Ms. Rectanus didn't break stride. "Mr. Jackson, put your toys away and take a seat."
Nearly late again, Rhonda Snodgrass scuttled through the door. Her frizzy light-brown hair stood out from her head. Dennis bet they could conduct electricity with her hair and snickered at the thought. She peered around the room for a seat, found one away from the rest of their classmates, and plopped down as Ms. Rectanus called the room to order.
Chairs scraped and thudded against the floor, the sound mingling with the paper rustling, whispers, and giggles. Dennis watched Rhonda as she dug a notebook out of her backpack. He didn't understand why everyone picked on her so much. She wasn't a knock-out like Maddie, but she wasn't ugly. And she was funny. But Curtis Vanhouten was the only person he'd seen being nice to her. That surprised Dennis because Curtis seemed more the jock type than anything else. And jocks didn't care about anything but sports.
The room quieted. Ms. Rectanus stood at the front next to a projector hooked to a computer. "I'm sure you're wondering why we asked you to deviate from the normal schedule and gather here." The fluorescent lights winked off her glasses as she scanned the room and a smile curved her lips. "It's not because we like to torture you, as I'm sure some of you are thinking."
Muffled laughter circulated the room.
"Seventh graders at Washington Academy Middle School, upset with how teachers ran the school, staged a revolution last week. The bloodless revolution was successful and you are now in charge of deciding the new direction and new policies for the seventh grade."
She stopped speaking. Dennis sat straighter in his chair.
Maybe this school wouldn't be so bad after all. A revolution sounded interesting.
Rhonda's head jerked up when Ms. Rectanus said the seventh grade would be in charge. How cool. The teachers and the assignments almost made up for all the teasing she put up with. But this — a chance to put into practice some ideas floating around in her head? Brilliant.
Ms. Rectanus waited for the chattering to stop. When it didn't, she held up her hand and the room quieted again. "You have two days to agree on the changes you want to make. But some things cannot be changed, either by state law, or by constrictions of money and location."
Her hand lowered and the room became so still they'd have heard a gnat sneeze. "The school year must be one-hundred-eighty days by law."
A few boys groaned. Did they honestly think the school would let them shorten the year?
"Each day must have six hours of instruction."
Spencer Jackson booed. The jerk.
Ms. Rectanus raised an eyebrow. "That is sufficient, Mr. Jackson. And before you get your hopes too high, teachers must be present."
Spencer frowned and Brooke Foxworthy giggled. He winked at her.
How smug. He thought he could charm anyone with a wink and a smile. And the other girls thought he was so cute with his big blue eyes and dark hair.
Ms. Rectanus ticked the remaining rules off on her fingers. "The school's location and the classrooms cannot be changed. Only resources available at the school can be used to make the changes." She looked directly at Spencer as he opened his mouth. "So parasailing cannot be added to the curriculum."
Rhonda suppressed a chuckle and pushed her glasses firmly into place. Ms. Rectanus had Spencer pegged.
"Sixth and eighth grade must continue as they are and cannot be affected by the changes. And the end of grade test at the end of the year must still be taken."
Whispered conversations broke out and Ellen Chandler raised her hand.
Ms. Rectanus nodded at her. "Yes, Ms. Chandler?"
Ellen cleared her throat. "You told us a bunch of stuff we can't do. What can we do?"
Ms. Rectanus smiled. "As long as you keep the rules I outlined in mind, you tell us. We need you to determine policy. What will the class schedule be? Are there any changes to the curriculum? What is the dress code? Any other rules? You decide what questions must be answered."
Rhonda opened her notebook. This exercise might be fun. Changing things around would be exciting. Of course, there might be a problem with getting everyone to agree.
Ms. Rectanus shook the rain stick, the Washington Academy signal to stop talking. "The teachers will be present in the capacity of media and security."
Flipping the switch on the projector, Ms. Rectanus pointed to the screen. "We will report on this exercise through a QuackerMe feed so your parents and any other interested parties can follow along."
Seriously? Mega cool. Rhonda chuckled. If the teachers reported everything, who would be the first to show up on the QuackerMe feed as losing their temper?
Spencer grunted and leaned back. "Like anybody is gonna care. No one uses QuackerMe anyway."
Ellen glared at him. "Just because you aren't old enough to have an account doesn't mean no one uses QuackerMe, Jackson."
Spencer clenched his hands. "If you're going to be quacking I'll egg your posts, Chandler."
Tommy Bishop made quacking noises and Ellen flushed from the neck to the roots of her hair. A post about someone losing their temper might come sooner than Rhonda expected.
The projector warmed up and the QuackerMe feed appeared on the screen. The QuackerMe ID, 7th Grade Revolt, already had a few quacks.
Rebellion is brewing!
Bristol is uninterested in revolution.
Oh goodness. They had posted a link to a picture of the school dog.
Another picture link. "Teachers are informed there has been a revolt!" If they continued to post pictures, it'd get interesting fast.
The rain stick rattled and brought her attention back to Ms. Rectanus.
"We have also scheduled an interview with the local online paper, so we'd like a few students to volunteer to talk about the revolution with them. The reporter should be here any moment."
Excited conversation broke out until the screen changed.
Students see QuackerMe feed.
A tingle went through Rhonda. Their classroom experience broadcast to the world. Amazing. It might even put their dinky town on the map.
Ms. Rectanus leaned the rain stick against the projector table. "Well, you'd better start. You have lots to decide." She sauntered to the back of the room.
Maddie Harper jumped to her feet and strode to the front. "Should we make a circle so we can all see each other?"
Leave it to Maddie to take control. She wasn't bad, not like some others, but always had to be in charge. Rhonda hauled her chair to the forming group.
As the circle assembled, Maddie grabbed the rain stick and clutched it to her chest. "Um, where should we start?" Her eyes darted to the back where the teachers sat.
Pfft. They weren't gonna help.
Unsure, Maddie let her arms droop when no one paid attention or stopped their conversations, which was kinda funny to see.
She laid the stick across the table and clapped her hands.
So much for the rain stick.
Maddie surveyed the rag-tag circle of girls. "Should we discuss as a large group, or do we want to break into smaller groups?"
Selena Woodham pouted. "Who died and put you in charge?"
"No one put me in charge." Maddie put her hand on her hip. "All I've done is ask a couple questions. I don't care if I'm in charge or someone else is."
"But we have to get organized. I mean, this is gonna be in the newspaper and it's already on QuackerMe. I don't want us to fail."
While the girls all formed a circle, Dennis kicked back against the wall and ripped a page from his notebook. He folded the paper accordion style and tore it into strips. After all, what was a revolution without ammunition? He took each strip and rolled it into a tight ball. Perfect. Just like a musket ball.
The other boys hadn't joined the circle either. Let the girls decide what to do. He didn't care one way or the other anyway. He'd vote for an entire day of free time to hike in the mountains, but the teachers would freak. Someone would try to get it shoved in anyway. But Ms. Rectanus had already said six hours of instruction was a must.
Dennis peered at the teachers to make sure they weren't looking his way. Slipping his cell phone under his notebook, he then fished the headphones out of his pocket, and shoved in the left earbud. He swiped the screen and brought up the police scanner app. His buddy Raj, from his last school, had tweaked it so Dennis picked up not only the authorized police and emergency bands, but nonpublic bands and some secure frequencies as well. Raj was such a whiz at hacking apps, he did it for fun.
Raj had played with the app until he'd figured out how to decrypt encrypted communications, but had told Dennis to keep it quiet. No one needed to know Dennis could pick up privileged information. Raj had done it simply because it presented a challenge. All Dennis had to do was tell Raj it couldn't be done and Raj would prove him wrong. Every time.
The most Dennis ever picked up around here was dead air. Nothing ever happened in this tiny town, but he listened in the hope that one day, something would. The most exciting thing had been a kitten stuck in a tree. And once he'd picked up the reports about the ice-cream delivery at the local store. Whoop-de-freakin-do.
He tore out another page and continued building his ammunition stockpile. The tighter the paper wad, the farther it'd sail when he flicked it.
The door opened and a man carried in a laptop case and camera. He shook hands with all the teachers and set his stuff on a table. Must be the reporter, but he didn't look like the news anchors on TV. Dude was kinda on the short side, and wore jeans and tennies without socks along with a gray T-shirt under a black leather jacket.
Dennis narrowed his eyes. Twenty bucks said he'd be taller than the media dude back-to-back. Kids at his previous school used to call him Goliath because of his size. He'd always been bigger and broader than his classmates. At least his size kept them from teasing him. No one picked on him because he'd squash them flat. All he had to do was sit on them.
The reporter watched the circle of girls as they talked about who had natural leadership qualities. Dennis chuckled at all his classmates who thought they qualified as leaders. Maddie wrote names on the board. He noticed her movements were stiff and unnatural after the reporter arrived. Even her voice raised a notch.
"Does anyone have any suggestions?"
Brooke raised her hand. Just like a girl; taking turns, raising hands. If he had a suggestion, he'd have blurted it out.
"I think we should be able to use the microwave to heat lunches."
The room erupted in cheers as Maddie wrote Use microwave on the board. A few boys joined the circle on the fringe.
Maddie turned back to the group, uncapped marker poised in the air. "What next?"
Spencer scooted his chair into the circle and the girls edged to the side to make room for him.
"No one has any other ideas?" Maddie's voice squeaked.
Trent Eckles made rabbit fingers and used the projector to put on a show. Everyone cracked up except Maddie and Ellen.
Maddie's face turned red. "Trent, that's not helping. We have a lot of decisions to make and we have two days to make them."
Spencer raised his hand.
Dennis held his breath and waited for Spencer to propose something stupid. He shook his head. Why did all the girls seem to like Spencer? Most of the time he was a jerk.
Maddie gave Spencer the nod.
He stood. "I wanna talk about the dress code."
Dennis had expected him to suggest a day of hide-n-seek or something like it, not bring up the dress code. This oughta be good.
From behind the circle, James Marshall spoke up. "Yeah. We should be able to wear hats." He patted his short, black curls. "Gotta protect my 'fro, ya know?"
Maddie wrote hats on the board.
Dennis tried to picture James wearing a cap, brim to the side gangsta style, and failed. If Washington Academy had a best-dressed award, James would win for the boys. He always wore slacks, no jeans, and his ever-present white T-shirt remained under a collared shirt or a sweater.
Spencer remained on his feet. "Wearing hats is a good idea, but mine is better." He smirked. "Girls are required to wear spaghetti straps." He sat as the room erupted again.
Dennis launched his first paper wad. Direct hit on Spencer's ear.
Spencer whipped around to search for his assailant.
"Spencer Jackson." Forgetting about the rain stick, Maddie yelled to regain control. "Bless your heart for participating, but we are not putting spaghetti straps down as dress code." Her chest heaved.
Dennis chuckled. Maddie's bless your heart meant eat crap and die.
Spencer crossed his arms. "Put it to a vote. This is a democracy, isn't it?"
Fingers gripping the marker until her knuckles turned white, Maddie's arms went ramrod straight. "Fine. All in favor?"
Spencer's hand shot straight in the air, along with five other boys who sniggered during the count.
Excerpted from "7th Grade Revolution"
Copyright © 2017 Liana Gardner.
Excerpted by permission of Vesuvian Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite In 7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner, a story inspired by true events, when Dennis enters Washington Academy, he knows this is his last chance to conform or he will be sent to military school. He arrives just as the teachers announce that the 7th grade has won the opportunity to make their own laws. As they are deciding on the new rules, the FBI arrives and evacuates all the pupils from the school. The 7th grade discovers that the FBI’s real intentions are to find hidden treasure at the school. Dennis and Rhonda, a survival expert and school geek, lead their classmates on an important mission to find the treasure before the FBI does. This dangerous operation takes them through the underground tunnels of the school and, as the FBI closes in, time is not on their side. They have to solve the clues which uncover shocking details about a national treasure and the Revolutionary War which could change the whole country's history. This story is full of action and suspense and gripped my attention from the first chapter. Each of the characters was well developed and created with a unique personality. I especially thought the concept of making two social outcasts the lead characters was a brilliant idea. Dennis’ streetwise nature coupled with Rhonda’s intelligence and sensitivity made for a great team. I also thought Spencer was a fantastic cheeky character and his dialogue was perfect for him. The whole cat and mouse element of the plot kept the story moving at a fast pace as the FBI was closing in on the 7th graders. I also loved the historical elements of the story and the tension as they tried to solve the clues. This is a great adventure story that will keep your attention until the very last page.
Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite Liana Gardner's 7th Grade Revolution is inspired by true events. The 7th grade class receives news their revolution has succeeded, which puts them in charge. Events take a stranger turn following the students meeting for a policy vote. They discover the FBI has evacuated the school and overhear the plan the FBI has to find a treasure hidden somewhere in the school. The students must work together to defend their school from the FBI and to follow the clues left by the history buff - whose home was converted into their school - to find the hidden treasure. Liana Gardner draws inspiration from real students who led a revolution in their school as part of a project. Gardner's 7th Grade Revolution brings this to life, beginning with the students succeeding, but the story quickly weaves in a thriller and adventure twist, tying in a mysterious connection to history. The illustrations found throughout are unique and lovely, adding to the mystery with the use of darker colors, shadows, and shading. The adventure takes place entirely inside the school, which works perfectly for the thrilling mystery they discover through a hidden staircase and a secret cavern. The school's connection to history ties into the Revolutionary War, thanks to the original owner being into history, so its history and secrets are linked to the history of the war. The students defend their school in ways reminiscent of Home Alone, which sees a similar gathering of items they have around them and making weapons to help defend their school. Treasure hunting is the largest focus throughout the plot as the students race against the FBI to find this hidden treasure, which is paired with a conspiracy angle highlighted in the actions of these suspicious men seeking the treasure for unknown reasons and, in doing so, evacuated the school. The story also explores friendship and teamwork through these students, each from different situations and backgrounds, who bond over fighting for their school and following clues to treasure. The extreme circumstances allow them a chance to see each other in a new light, to trust each other, and to understand each other. The characters focused on are mainly Rhonda and Dennis, but several other characters are included throughout, each playing a key role in either the fight against the FBI or searching for the treasure as each uses their skills to uncover secrets. With stunning illustrations, 7th Grade Revolution is a treasure hunting adventure exploring themes of friendship, growing up, teamwork, and history.
Reviewed by Stacie Haas for Readers' Favorite Liana Gardner's 7th Grade Revolution opens in a seventh-grade classroom at Washington Academy Middle School where the students are met with a great declaration: a bloodless and successful revolution means they are now in charge of the school. Their assignment? Work together to form their own system of governing rules. Adding to the excitement, their progress is to be covered by the news media and followed through a popular social media site, QuackerMe (the equivalent of Twitter). Before long, their assignment takes on new meaning as the FBI arrives on the scene, intent on finding a hidden artifact inside the school and then closing it permanently. The students race against time to follow clues hidden by the school’s benefactor, a Revolutionary War devotee named Silas, who has hidden the artifact somewhere on the school campus, which was once his home. Will the students find it and save their school? Liana Gardner's 7th Grade Revolution is a fun, fast-paced, epic adventure story! Akin to a great treasure hunt with ancient maps and clues just waiting to be revealed, 7th Grade Revolution unfolds against a ticking clock and the potential of danger around every corner (and a secret passageway, hidden room, and dark, bat-filled cavern). Liana Gardner’s novel is part mystery, part history, and everything contemporary as the students cleverly utilize social media and their own ingenuity to save their school, even as the FBI stands ready to breach the doors. Strong characterization makes 7th Grade Revolution truly memorable as the individual stories and traits of Dennis, Rhonda and all the students are woven effortlessly into the overall story. In addition, 7th Grade Revolution includes striking, fun illustrations by Luke Spooner at the beginning of every chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it.
The 7th grade at Washington School have staged a bloodless Revolution and won. They have been given permission to restructure their learning with some limitations. Then all the teachers and student except the 7th grade leave the school. If that was not interesting enough, the kids find themselves surrounded by the FBI talking about a treasure. It’s up to the kids to find this treasure and protect it from the FBI. I didn’t realize this book was based on an actual event at the Exploris Middle School. I love how they really engaged the kids and made them think through everything. In the 7th Grade Revolution, the story takes this idea a little further by giving the kids a treasure hunt physically and mentally. I love the thrillers where the heroes follow clues and discover tidbits of history along the way. This is a great way to teach kids about history while engaging them to read at the same time. I think this is a great story and one that I strongly recommend for mid-grade readers. This is a first book for Liana Gardner and I hope it will not be the last. I received 7th Grade Revolution from Providence Book Promos for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.
I have started to read more and more middle-grade books. Having two tweens and one of them who loves to read, I am always on the lookout for good middle-grade books. The cover of 7th Grade Revolution caught my eye when I saw it. When I read the blurb, my interest was caught and I had to read it. I am glad I did because this is a book that I would definitely let my kids read. 7th Grade Revolution was based on real events. The 7th graders at Exploris Middle School staged a bloodless revolution. The reason, they were upset with the teachers. The author took that real life event and ran with it. Which resulted in a book that mirrored National Treasure but on a kid’s level. I loved it. The plot of this book The plot of this book was very simple. 7th graders at Washington Academy Middle School staged a bloodless revolution and won. While in a room, debating school schedules and courses, the entire school is evacuated. All grades except the 7th grade. One of the students picks up a conversation between two FBI agents about a secret treasure. The secret treasure is hidden inside the school and the FBI is going to try to flush them out. The students decide to stay one step ahead of the agents by stockpiling food and water. They also decide to find the treasure before the FBI. The resulting adventure reveals surprising secrets about their school. It also reveals secrets about the American Revolutionary War. There are several main characters in 7th Grade Revolution. I am going to focus the main two characters, Dennis and Rhonda. The secondary characters in this book are what made the book. They gave the book substance and the ability for me to believe that these kids actually did what they did. Dennis did not want to be in that school. Being the new kid, he’s the outsider and everyone looks at him like a bit of a bad boy. But when push comes to shove, he becomes the person that everyone leans on. He does have his demons and I was heartbroken when I read how they came about. Rhonda is the low kid on the totem pole at Washington Academy Middle School. She was teased because her father has trained her in survival tactics in preparation. But those were for a zombie apocalypse. She tends to keep herself because of that. When the students discover the passage under the school, she is only one who can help them get the secret treasure. Like I said above, this is a middle-grade book. My children are almost 10 and almost 12 and 7th Grade Revolution will be a perfect read for them. I am planning on buying this for my almost 10-year-old for Christmas. He loves these kinds of books and I can see 7th Grade Revolution becoming a favorite of his. The end of the book was pretty typical. All the storylines were wrapped up in a very satisfactory way that satisfied me as a reader. I did like how everything was explained to the kids about the secret treasure. 4 stars My Summary of 7th Grade Revolution: 7th Grade Revolution is a fantastic middle-grade book. This book has memorable characters, both main and secondary, as well as a plot that will keep you on your toes. I plan on getting this book for my almost 10-year-old. **I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**