Trackers review 2011

Adam Henderson and his three best friends — Lewis, Emily and Finn — are a unique group. They don’t quite fit in with the athletes, thespians, student council, artists, or any other clique around, so they all feel very lucky to have found each other. They somehow survived middle school together and are about to embark on the greatest adventure imaginable.

They call themselves Trackers, and they use their varied and incredible skills to find people who don’t want to be found. One might ask how a group of kids could do such a thing. As Adam so precisely puts it, “Because here’s the thing about the digital age: Everyone leaves a trail.” Adam is the leader, and he happens to be a technological genius. He fixes computer problems that even his dad, who owns a computer repair shop, can’t figure out. Adam’s room at the back of the store is filled with every digital component available to the public, along with his very own inventions. But he can’t do it alone; he needs Lewis, Emily and Finn for their talents and skills as well.

It all started out as a game, as their first case involved someone stealing skateboards at the local skate park. But as they practice and perfect, they stumble into something larger than any of them could have thought possible. During a practice mission, an equipment testing session, they discover a secret message slipped into the recorded video. With his curiosity peaked, Adam decodes the clues and messages. It turns out that someone dangerous has hacked into his system and stolen valuable information about his inventions, which is now being held hostage as the Trackers are blackmailed. Before they realize it, they have dug themselves into something so deep and dangerous that top government officials take them into custody for a highly classified interrogation.

Patrick Carman has created a new multimedia series that is unique and thrilling. As Adam is being grilled by a federal agent, he must reveal all that happened leading up to the big situation into which he and his friends have fallen. The interview is fast-paced and determined, leaving no room for unimportant details or boring descriptions, and it infuses many clues to hint at all of the adventure and excitement to come. Interspaced throughout the story are sections caught on video, and you can log on to to take a look at the footage. If you don’t have a computer available at the time, printed transcripts of the videos are listed in appendices at the back of the book. As for the characters, most readers will be able to identify with one or more of the four friends. All of them are realistic and have their own sense of humor and quirks to enjoy.

The bestselling author of such series as The Land of Elyon and Atherton has delivered yet another clever, intense and technological adventure that is quite different from the average reading experience and follows up on the success of his interactive Skeleton Creek novels. Fans will be waiting impatiently for Book Two. And who can blame them?

Patrick Carman