If you’re looking for an action-packed summer read, check out Chris Bradford’s Bodyguard books. Larrabee discovered the first one, Recruit, on the first day of summer vacation and has since binge-read the whole series.
In the first book, 14-year-old British kickboxing champion, Connor Reeves, is recruited into a top-secret squad of teen bodyguards trained to protect young celebrities. After some intense training, he travels to Washington, DC for his first mission: to guard the President’s high-spirited daughter.
Kids who like the Alex Rider series will like this one too. Both series are fast-paced and have a similar mix of action and suspense. Like the Alex Rider series, the Bodyguard books contain some violence and so are appropriate for older (grades 5+) readers.
You should be warned that the publisher has republished each of the original four books in two parts, so you’ll need to get the books two at a time. (Larrabee and I learned this the hard way.) Recruit ends with a major cliffhanger, and the rest of the story is in the second book, Hostage.
One of the coolest things about these books are all the fascinating details about the way bodyguards assess threats and counter dangers to their principal. After reading them, you’ll find yourself walking around in Code Yellow.
Masterminds is the first book in a thrilling trilogy by Gordon Korman. Larrabee loved it and insisted that I drop everything and read it.
Eli Frieden lives in Serenity, New Mexico, an isolated and idyllic town with a population of 185. Eli’s dad is the school principal and the mayor and reminds him often how lucky he is to live in a community with no crime and no poverty.
One day, his best friend suggests that they ride their bikes out of Serenity, something Eli’s never done in all his thirteen years. When they get to the town limits, though, Eli starts to feel sick. Before they know it, they’ve been rescued by the local security force (nicknamed Purple People Eaters by the kids) in a helicopter. A few days later, Eli’s friend is shipped off to live with his grandparents in Colorado, but he leaves a note where only Eli can find it: “There’s something screwy going on in that town.”
The story of what’s really going on beneath Serenity’s perfect facade is told through the point of view of five different kids. I don’t want to spoil any of the plot twists, so I’ll just say that Masterminds has a mix of action, mystery, and suspense that’s rare in middle grade books.
The other two books in the series are Criminal Destiny and Payback, and Larrabee highly recommends them too. He says the series gets better and better!