Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind: The Nerdy Dozen, Book 2
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind, the second in Jeff Miller's Nerdy Dozen series, features a team of avid online gamers who come together in real life to tackle top-secret missions. They're a quirky bunch, but they're fiercely loyal to one another. The team is put into perilous situations, but they're so unrealistically over-the-top -- fleeing an erupting volcano on Mars, escaping from a bored teen's basement on the moon -- that they're never frightening. Neil's family is completely unaware of his work for the government, which doesn't seem too concerned about sending children into dangerous circumstances.
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What's the Story?
Ever completing a secret mission for the U.S. Air Force, eighth-grader Neil Andertol has found his regular civilian life a little boring. He's thrilled to be reunited with his friends and gamers from the last mission for another high-stakes adventure. This time, the Nerdy Dozen are needed to recover a stolen spacecraft. It soon becomes clear there's an even bigger concern: a deadly asteroid hurtling toward Earth. Neil is charged with commanding his team, relying primarily on his experience playing a video game intended to prepare him for a mission like this ... only Neil never actually played the game. He hopes his instincts will be enough to save the Earth and get his friends home safely.
Is It Any Good?
The first book had plenty of goofy plot points, but the sequel levels up the implausibility to near absurdity. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE NERD KIND reunites the young heroes of the first book in the Nerdy Dozen series, this time sending them into space. We encounter an invisible secret station on the moon, kids tracking down their lost parents across the solar system, and even an ailment called "Advanced Space Silliness." Serviceable but uninspired writing just barely pulls the plot together. Affable characters, layers of looniness, and a fantastical plot make this a fun, quick read.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what makes Neil a good leader. Given his mistakes, would you trust him to lead you?
How can video games help you develop skills and assets that are useful offline?
How can you enjoy interacting with friends and stay safe online?
- Author: Jeff Miller
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date: March 10, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 272
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: April 6, 2020
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