Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Ron McGee
Illustrator: Chris Samnee
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
After living all over the world, eighth-grader Ryan Quinn feels like he can finally call New York City his home. Ryan’s family moved back to the United States when his father began working for the United Nations. While Ryan’s dad is on a UN trip, mercenaries led by General Aung Win break into Ryan’s home and kidnap his mother, holding her hostage until Ryan can reach his father. After the break-in, Ryan discovers a secret room which holds information on the Emergency Rescue (ER) committee. Ryan’s family is a part of this underground organization dedicated to rescuing key individuals threatened by their tyrannical countries. Ryan’s father is really on a rescue mission for Myat Kaw, an anonymous whistle-blower who exposed the truth behind Andakar’s corrupt government. With the help of Ryan’s hacker friend Danny, Ryan joins ER agent Tasha to find his father and help get Myat Kaw—a sixteen-year-old girl called Lan—back to New York City. On returning to the states, Ryan and his friends rescue his mother from Aung Win, but Lan is taken. Ryan goes after Lan, saves her, and helps Aung Win get arrested for his crimes.
McGee’s middle-grade series is an action-packed thrill ride from start to finish. Readers are introduced to Ryan Quinn, a good kid who naturally fights for the underdog and cleverly outwits his attackers. Ryan’s tactical gifts are skills his parents trained him in to survive his global childhood. Unfortunately, these skills are not always appropriate in a school setting. This causes Ryan to feel torn about when he should and shouldn’t fight for others who need help. However, when Ryan is plunged into the world of the Emergency Rescue committee, he realizes his true calling. Many adventure books have the protagonists miraculously developing stellar survival skills during their times of crisis, which makes the characters less believable or relatable. However, McGee expertly weaves those skills into Ryan’s foundation, making his feats seem more natural and believable. This is a great read for fans of globe-trotting adventures like Roland Smith’s Peak series or Ally Carter’s Heist Society series.
*Contains mild violence.