Steel Trapp: The Challenge by Ridley Pearson (Paperback)
Reading age : 10 - 11 years
Lexile measure : 660L
Grade level : 5 - 6
Steven Steel Trapp—so nicknamed for a photographic memory tight as a steel trap— is aboard a train on his way to the National Science Challenge in Washington, D.C., when he unwittingly runs afoul of a gangster with ties to overseas terrorist organizations. Steve joins forces with Kaileigh, a runaway, and the two take it upon themselves to rescue a woman they suspect is being held hostage. Now they just need to figure out by whom, and for what reason, all the while dodging meddling adults—from an overprotective mom and harried nanny to various federal agents—tripping over themselves, even as they stay one step behind Steel and Kaileigh. As the plot accelerates toward the conclusion, Steel realizes, This is just like Spy Kids! a serviceable benchmark. Pearson’s leap into the youth thriller market is less successful than the Peter Pan books he coauthored with Dave Barry, but this has imaginative plot twists, and is a kid-friendly take on a familiar genre.