Trackers, Book 1
Finished: Aug. 18, 2010
First Published: May 11, 2010
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Children, science fiction, intrigue
How far back can you go Adam?
Acquired: Received a review copy from Scholastic Canada.
Reason for Reading: I became a huge fan of Carman's after reading the Atherton series and was excited to read another book by him.
A book entirely written as an interview, an interrogation. 15 year-old Adam is being questioned by someone to go back to the beginning and tell them what happened. We have no idea who is doing the interviewing, though the assumption is that is that it is high ranking officials, either military or government. Though whether that assumption is true I have not ascertained and part of me highly doubts. Right from the beginning we are teased with foreshadowing, told that something awful has happened and this foreshadowing continues throughout the book. Adam's three cohorts are used as bargaining chips to keep him talking as he does not know what has happened to them, if they are well and if these "officials" also have them, as they claim.
Through this Q&A format Adam tells the story of how he, a computer high-tech savvy expert with multitudes of invented gadgets and access to any computer in the world meets up with three other teens of various abilities who join together to help the world by tracking down online hackers and fixing weak security systems while leaving behind anonymous notes. They call themselves "Trackers" and they also physically go out on test runs with the gadgets Adam has invented while he stays back at the control room running the operation. They get pulled into a dangerous game when Adam is contacted by an attractive female teen who challenges him to a cyber game he can't refuse. Next thing he knows his system has been hacked, all his inventions and files stolen and now he is at the mercy of this young woman and a menacing man named Laslo who force him and his team to participate in criminal activities but Adam thinks he can outsmart them in the end. Obviously, due to the current interrogation, something drastically went wrong.
I loved this story. It was a page turner. Each of the four teens were exceptional individuals, from different backgrounds and each was extremely likable in their own unique way. I am very eager to get on with the story in book 2.
Trackers is very unique itself in that it combines video with text. Throughout the book, as the interview was progressing a file would be introduced and Adam would pull up a video that proved what he was saying was true. At this point the reader who has already been directed to a website inserts the password and has the opportunity to watch an actual video of the characters in action. There may also be other things for the reader to do such as examine items in evidence, schematics, etc. I must say this is extraordinarily cool. Unfortunately, I only have internet access on a PC shared with family members. I did watch the first couple of videos this way, but if I had had to read a bit then wait a turn on the computer before continuing to read on it would have taken me weeks to finish the book! Fortunately, for those not able to enjoy the instant gratification of the videos each is included as a written transcript as an appendix at the back of the book and this is the way I eventually ended up reading the book. It did not deter my enjoyment at all. A very exciting, unique, intriguing story!