Today's lunchtime reading was pilfered from the waiting to be cataloged cart. Fresh out of the YBP box and ready to travel off campus was Evil Genius, by Catherine Jinks (profile Teenreads.com). Currently eight chapters in to the novel, here is a brief overview and character introduction.
Cadel Piggott is a nine-year old genius enthralled with how things work; computer systems, circuitry systems, and even the highway system are keenly interesting to him. An unfortunate incident at school, Cadel (meaning "battle" in Welsh) has been expelled for hacking into a high security computer system, he and his adopted parents Lanna and Stuart Piggott are following a court ordered requested to see psychologist Dr. Thaddeus Roth. With the infamous statement, "Next time, whatever you do, don't get caught"(p. 10), Cadel's sessions with Dr. Roth begin.
Cadel learns that Dr. Roth is employed by his biological father to "keep an eye" on him. In quick succession Cadel learns the identity of his biological father, Vernon Bobrick more famously known as convicted criminal mastermind Dr. Phineas Darkkon, and is introduced to another way of dealing with his genius IQ. Under the tutelage of Dr. Roth and his father Cadel matures, intellectually as opposed to in maturity, and hones his own evil genius.
This novel has definite potential on various levels, a fact not lost on publisher Harcourt. Evil Genius has an clever web site, Axis Institute for World Domination, in place for readers (and great publicity). The Axis Institute has class schedules, courses, instructors, and classmates available for students to enjoy. There is an Interview with guest lecturer Catherine Jinks and and an Evil Genius quiz for testing your own evil potential:
Obviously my evil genius quotient is somewhat lacking, but young readers will enjoy the choices presented and the opportunity to upgrade their own genius capability.
Cadel has a lot of room to grow as a character; learning the fine art of responsibility and the subsequent consequences for his genius actions. Since the book flap mentions Cadel "begins to questio the moral implications of his actions," I am relatively certain this will be at least introduced. I hope so because right now the character of Cadel, in my opinion, is a bit of a snot.
Tags: Evil Genius, Catherine Jinks, Children's literature, Young adult literature, Juvenile fiction