Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Elise Stokes Debut Novel for the Cassidy Jones Adventures is Exciting, Fun--A Winner for YAs and Up! 

"One thing I had predicted about the interview proved to be spot-on. Listening to the professor explain her gene therapy was like watching grass grow. Bored by her lengthy responses and foreign words, my mind picked up where it had left off in the daydream Miriam had interrupted.
"Jared and I are walking along a sandy beach, cool waves lapping at our feet. Suddenly, the sand trembles beneath them. Earthquake?
"Snapping out of the daydream, I realized the stool was giving way beneath me. Before any reflex could kick in, I fell towards the coffeemaker and dirty mugs. Before I could smash into them face-first, my hands came to life. Frantically waving while I plunged, I knocked the beakers off the burners. Catching the edge of the counter, I had a close-up view of the strange occurrence on top. It’s difficult to describe what happened in that fraction of a second as the hot liquids ran together. The best description I can come up with is “Poof!” The liquids instantaneously vaporized, forming a white cloud. At the same instance, I took a fateful breath, sucking in the cloud puff. In the cloud, my eyes felt like acid had been thrown into them, and my lungs seemed to collapse. As I gasped for air, my heart burned as if on fire, pumping the inferno into my body. The blood flowing through my veins became flaming rivers, carrying the fire throughout. When the fire circulated through every part of me, a jolt shook my brain like I’d been struck by lightning.
"The inferno turned cold, and blackness engulfed me. Impenetrable black surrounded me. My ears detected no sound. Because I felt nothing beneath me, I thought I could be floating, though I didn’t seem to be in motion. Cognitively, I was aware of my limbs, though they were unresponsive when instructed to move. My skin felt thick and numb.
Cassidy Jones 
and the Secret Formula
By Elise Stokes

Elise Stokes has the perfect main character for her new series--one that teens, young adults and the rest of the us will totally enjoy. Me? I'm always happy to find books that I can happily recommend to my great-niece, Rachel, who is now reading for extra credit at school! This first book is a fun adventure and explains how Cassidy got to be the perfect character...

It was an accident...

Cassidy's father, Drake Jones, worked for Channel 5 News and was scheduled to meet with a professor of Genetics. He had already quizzed her about DNA, etc., so that she might learn something new during the interview; but Cassidy knew already that she wasn't going to be able to get into the conversation, thinking about her own things... What she wasn't planning on was meeting the female version of "The Absent-minded professor" with a clothesline hanging across the room, the professor looking disheveled, and the whole room in a mess...

What they didn't know, though, was that the professor had just had a visitor who scared her! And she had been trying to get it all out of her mind...

And then when the stool that Cassidy had been sitting on broke, they were all involved in getting Cassidy to the hospital... It was soon after that interview that Professor Serena Phillips disappeared, and her office had been burned, including the major part of her genetics work!

It started with her nose..

"Mmm… Someone is making pancakes… The delicious aroma 
of pancakes coaxed me out of sleep. Coming to, I groaned. 
 I had never been a morning person, but my head
 didn’t usually feel like a bowling ball. Since dropping off to sleep the night before, I felt like I’d been trapped in a loud, fast-moving, brightly colored anime cartoon. My dreams had been insane, to say the least. 
"Dr. Randolph misdiagnosed me, I thought, pressing my hands to my temples. Having a heavy head and chaotic dreams definitely indicates brain trauma. I don’t need a medical degree to figure that out. This thought satisfied me. Not that I wanted a swelling brain, but it sure would have been nice to see the ER doctor’s puffed-up head deflate. Let’s just say, his bedside manner wouldn’t win any awards. I had first taken offense to this Dr. Randolph when he lifted the towel from my forehead and gave my dad an exasperated look. “Mr. Jones, this is only a surface wound,” he said in a scolding tone. 
"While Dad and Ben stared at my forehead, the doctor wore a smug expression. I so wanted to wipe it off his face. “I don’t understand,” Dad said, looking confused. “I tended the wound myself, and it was deep.” “I saw the split, too, Doctor,” Ben interjected. “And it most definitely required stitches.” 
"Dr. Randolph shrugged. “I can see from the towel that the wound bled heavily. Sometimes even minor head wounds will do this. The bleeding must have made it appear more serious to you both than it obviously is.” Translated: You’re both idiots."

Cassidy had made a stupid mistake at school with  a friend who she later realized that she did like, so she was hoping to figure out how to get back into his life... Instead, a new boy was entering not only her life, but her home! When it was discovered that the professor's son had nobody to stay with, Cassidy's Dad had invited him to their home rather than to have him go into "the system..." At first, Cassidy was upset--she already had enough to deal with! But as she was discovering each strange change that was happening to her, she also discovered that Emery Phillips was 15, had already graduated from high school, clearly a genius, and was going to college and had worked with his mother related to her genetics research. 
Sitting on the hall floor next
 to my bedroom door,
I tuned in to Nate’s room across the hall.
 The boys were reading and discussing
 comic books. Apparently,
Emery knew less
 about superheroes than I did,
and my brothers had taken it upon
 themselves to get him up to speed.

Emery was the only person with whom she could share what was happening and perhaps get decent suggestions. At a minimum, she wouldn't be in this alone!

But then her Dad also got involved with the investigation, hoping to help find Emery's mother or even his father who was out of the country--somewhere! There was something very strange about this family and Drake was going to be in there to discover it! 

In the meantime, Cassidy of course had to return to school and readers will enjoy her experiences as she learned more and more about the changes to her body--let's just say that she didn't yet know her own strength and a couple of bullies...
got "pay back..." Emery was helping her, but they both knew that she had 
to keep everything a secret or somebody might kidnap her too! And...
she really did feel bad about breaking her rival's nose...
And then Cassidy's father is kidnapped also! Cassidy and Emery must act to save them! Now that's where I'll end it, but give you one clue...Well actually two, if you consider the quote about Emery knowing little about comics--actually he knew little about the real world... Anyway, although it's not the character, this was the pic of the one who I thought of related to the villain and his gang...So be prepared for...crazy!

Confession: I loved this YA novel! So much fun to read, so much opportunity to discuss the book with my great-niece and feel that it is appropriate for her age... I had already ordered the next two, but something is going on with Amazon's billing, but I'd have to wait to read anyway until I had more time. But I do indeed recommend this...easily an "8" for this Debut of Series! Enjoy!


Elise Stokes lives in Bellevue, Washington, with her husband and four children. She was an elementary school teacher before becoming a full-time mom. With a daughter in middle school and two in high school, Elise’s understanding of the challenges facing girls in that age range inspired her to create a series that will motivate girls to value individualism, courage, integrity, and intelligence. The stories in the Cassidy Jones Adventures series are fun and relatable, and a bit edgy without taking the reader uncomfortably out of bounds. Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula and Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift are the first two books in the series.


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