Genius Squad by Catherine Jinks
The real genius of this novel is not its fast-paced storyline, computer and technology savviness, or its likeable, realistic and sympathetic characters. It’s not the tussle Cadel has between doing what’s right and not what’s easy, or the tentative, warm relationship he makes with the gruff father-figure police officer, Detective Inspector Saul Greeniaus. It’s not the wonderfully Dickensian names and impeccable plot twists and turns. It’s not even its empowering portrayal and Cadel’s accepting friendship of a young girl with cerebral palsy with a gifted mind and useless body. The true genius in Genius Squad is that in the days of sequels, prequels, trilogies, and so forth, a quarter of the story is not dedicated to a re-hash of the first novel. If the reader has not read Evil Genius, they can still follow Genius Squad without difficulties, but will be intrigued to track down and hungrily devour the first one.
Don’t let the Young Adult label turn you off. This is a novel which does not speak down to its younger audience, or assume they have intellects the size of peas. Fans of smart crime thrillers will love Genius Squad, regardless of age. Well deserving of the Davitts Young Adult 2009 award!