In the Deep Blue Sea Review

New York Times–bestselling authors Bill Nye the Science Guy and Gregory Mone take middle-grade readers on a scientific adventure in Book 2 of the exciting new Jack and the Geniuses series.

The series combines real-world science along with a mysterious adventure that will leave kids guessing until the end, making the books ideal for STEM education.

In the second installment, In the Deep Blue Sea, Jack, his genius siblings Ava and Matt, and inventor Dr. Hank Witherspoon travel to the Hawaiian island home of Ashley Hawking, a technology billionaire. Hawking and engineer Rosa Morris have built a revolutionary electricity plant that harvests energy from the deep ocean, but someone has been sabotaging the project.

In their search for the culprit, Jack and crew navigate an unusual world of characters and suspects, including Hawking and her obnoxiously intelligent son, Steven; a family of surfers who accuse the billionaire of trespassing on sacred land; an ex–Navy SEAL with a fondness for cat photos; and a cigar-chomping man who calls himself the Air-Conditioning King of Hawaii.

Readers will learn about the mysteries of the deep ocean, the scientific process, and the potential of green energy as Jack and his brilliant siblings use all their brainpower to survive. Integrating real science facts with humor and suspense and featuring a multiethnic cast of boy and girl characters, this engaging series is an irresistible combination for middle-grade readers.

With easy-to-read language presented in a fun and accessible way, these books are great for both inquisitive kids and reluctant readers. In the Deep Blue Sea: Jack and the Geniuses Book 2 includes information about the science discussed and used to solve the mystery, as well as a cool project that kids can do at home or in the classroom.


In the Deep Blue Sea Review

 

In the Deep Blue Sea is simply written, features an interesting array of characters, and is filled with a mystery which will appeal to middle-grade sleuths. Everything might seem a bit over-the-top to adult readers, but given that this seems to be aimed at the younger end of the middle-grade scale, it’s appropriate.

Given that most of the characters are geniuses or obvious villain/villain decoys, the dialogue is somewhat stilted at times. In the Deep Blue Sea tries to interject moments of humor periodically. Sometimes they succeed, other times not so much. The story does consistently move forward, though. And there’s definitely a tense moment or three for the kiddos.  There’s also an emphasis on teamwork that I love.

I got In the Deep Blue Sea from Netgalley. I was drawn to it because it had Bill Nye’s name attached to it and also mentioned a “scientific adventure”. So even though I hadn’t read the first book in the series, I eagerly signed up to read this one. To be honest, I probably won’t read more in the future, though. See, though I’m embarrassed to confess this, I can’t stand Jack. I’m not sure entirely sure why, but by the end of the book I liked Matt, I loved Ava, and I wanted to not have to see Jack anymore.

Jack isn’t a bad kid, but his inability to make basic connections had me twitching. I know he’s meant to represent the ‘normal kid’ in the group, but come on! It just doesn’t feel realistic. I know Jack is not meant to seem unintelligent, but that’s how he comes across in In the Deep Blue Sea. It feels like the authors both have a hard time drawing an accurate picture of your average kid, and don’t give Jack nearly enough credit. It’s easy to write a kid genius. You just stick an adult brain in a kid’s body and add a few childish quirks. Writing a normal kid is apparently a bit harder. I did like the kid’s imagination, though.

My favorite character is definitely Hank. He’s a solid father figure to the group but he never actually tries to be their father. He loves them but he also respects them, and that feels almost shocking to see. Unusual relationships seemed to be one of the key features of In the Deep Blue Sea. It’s kind of cool to reflect upon after you’re done reading the book. Hank’s relationship with the kids in comparison to Ashley with her son especially. There’s love and respect there in equal measure and yet the two relationships present very differently.

Overall, In the Deep Blue Sea was a good read. Once it hooked me, I had to see it through to the conclusion. I think that for certain kids in the intended age range, this could be a big hit. However, I can easily see it falling flat for a majority of kids too. It has a bit of trouble striking that note between educational and entertaining. I love, love, love that they’re trying to do this, though! The experiment at the end of the book, as well as information about the ocean was nice as well.  And I’m sure each book will get better.

  • Title: In the Deep Blue Sea
  • Series: Jack and the Geniuses #2
  • Authors: Bill Nye & Gregory Mone
  • ISBN13: 9781419725524
  • Pub Date: September 12th, 2017
  • Purchase on: Amazon
  • Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review consideration.

 

 

 

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