Parents' Guide to

Evil Genius

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Complex tale of a criminal prodigy is engrossing but dark.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 16+

A good read for me, NOT OK for under 16

No Way is this appropriate for 12 a year old. If you think the "bit of swearing' in this book is OK for your 12-15 year old, you need higher standards. I enjoyed the book.

This title has:

Too much swearing
age 2+
love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the best book summary:Cadel Piggot, a boy genius, and his adoptive parents arrive at the psychology office of Thaddeus Roth after a suggestion from the police who really are assigned by Cadel’s real father, an international crime orchestrator named Phineas Darkkon. Thaddeus is actually an agent working for Cadel’s real father. Thaddeus encourages Cadel to do things like causing major delays on freeways. They talk to Phineas (referred to as Dr. Darkkon) via a DNA-wired videophone, which prompts Cadel to want a DNA-wired pocket computer phone (now known as a smartphone). His dad agrees, and Cadel (who made the blueprints for the phone) uses it to start a dating site called Partner Post. But instead of matching people to other people, Cadel simply creates a fake “perfect match” profile every time someone signs up. Thaddeus wants Cadel to go to the Axis Institute for World Domination, but Cadel soon finds that he is under constant surveillance and engineers the downfall of the Institute by causing the breakup of social relationships between the teachers. One of Cadel?s teachers at the Institute falsely believes that Cadel and Thaddeus are going to fire him and kidnaps Cadel. Cadel breaks out by starting a fire with his pillow and mattress, and is rescued by Wilfreda, Thaddeus’ receptionist. He is taken to Thaddeus’ mansion, where Cadel learns that is his real father. Cadel goes to his old house to “get his stuff” but plans a escape. As he escapes, the police get him. They them him that Thaddeus’ real name is Prosper English. Cadel also tells them where the Thaddeus’ mansion is. Cade escapes from the police, but is “rescued” by Wilfreda when he tries to leave in a taxi. The police show up at Thaddeus’ front door and arrest everyone. Cadel is taken into a secret society of people dismantling Dr. Darkkon”s empire but still doesn’t know who his real parents are.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing
Educational value

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (9):

At first glance, this may seem like another Artemis Fowl -- child criminal genius, codes, and all that -- but it's actually a far darker, more complex, multilayered story. It lacks the B-movie dialogue, flat characters, fantasy element, wicked humor, and breakneck pacing that were Fowl's trademarks. Instead, it has a series of twists and turns, each of which leads deeper into the web of lies that has been Cadel's entire life.

In some ways this engrossing and exciting novel is a critique of the ways gifted children are parented and taught -- because they are brilliant, adults tend to expect them to be adult in every way long before they are ready. As in King Matt the First by Janusz Korczak, the hero is a child who takes on an adult role without the necessary understanding of the world, with disastrous consequences he can't understand. This is one of those books that readers will race through and enjoy, then go back to really think about it. Even when it's finished, it's hard to put aside.

Book Details

  • Author: Catherine Jinks
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Harcourt Brace
  • Publication date: April 26, 2007
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 12
  • Number of pages: 486
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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