Genre: Middle grade fiction
The League and the Lantern is the first book in a new adventure series for middle-school readers. It all starts when a dangerous organization invades Jake Herndon’s seventh-grade sleepover. He escapes along with two new classmates, Lucy and TJ, only to face a 48-hour fight for survival on the streets of Chicago. The kids unravel a mystery dating back to the Civil War, and an incredible secret about Jake’s family. Along the way they learn unexpected lessons about courage, family and friendship.
The official website has the book available for purchase: LeagueAndLantern.com
Review: While this novel is geared toward (and written about) tweens and teens, it is also enjoyable reading for adults. It is filled with riveting action and humor, and works to reinforce character traits parents want to see develop in their children.
The story is fast-paced adventure from beginning to end. The main characters are trying to figure out who they are, where they fit in, and what they want to do with their lives. They are also children of different races, and there are boys and girls, so that there is a way for pretty much any middle grade student to connect with at least one of them.
The book is full of pop culture references: superheros, Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Princess Bride, etc. Not only does this create another way for readers to connect to the characters, it also shows them that it's okay to admire fictional characters and their adventures--and then go out and create your own adventure.
The League and The Lantern is also an educational tool, without doing so in an overly obvious manner. 140 vocabulary words designated for middle grade students are included throughout the story, and a variety of historical sites are part of the story setting. It also includes moral lessons in family, friendship, mercy and compasssion.
One other positive thing about this book is that it operates on a buy one-give one campaign to get the book into the hands of children who could not otherwise afford a copy of their own.
**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.**
Rating: Four stars
About the author
Brian Wells is a concerned dad who couldn’t find quality entertainment for his kids. He has worked and produced 15 TV movies for the major networks, and this is his book debut.