Roland Smith is definitely high on my list for authors to check out. He has been since I read Zach's Lie several years ago and with the completion of his newest, I am completely enthralled with his ability to combine true, human emotion and intense thrills and action.
I, Q Book One: Independence Hall, centers on Q, short for Quest, and his new stepsister Angela, as they begin a tour of the United States with their famous musician parents. When their fancy tour bus breaks down and Boone, an old roadie of Q's mom's band miraculously shows up in the desert to fix it, Q and Angela start to smell something a bit fishy about him. When Angela realizes she is being followed, Boone soon reveals that he is part of the U.S. Secret Service trying to learn if Angela's mother, a former agent herself killed in the line of duty, is actually still alive.
Each page introduces new info to the story, as Q and Angela and thrown into the midst of a huge cover-up conspiracy. Boone and his comrades are not only trying to find Angela's mother, but have also been sent to keep the kids and their parents safe on the tour. The step-siblings are soon helping the mission just as much as the agents are, all while trying to keep themselves alive.
Once I sat down and began reading this young adult novel, I had to keep making excuses to come back to it. I brought it into a restaurant, read it on a "hike" with the hubby and the dog, and kept turning the light back on at night to continue it. The thrill ride starts with the first page and doesn't ever let up. From page to page the reader isn't quite sure who the bad guys are or if everyone is a bad guy! The writing is fantastic, perfect for teens and middle graders, and the characters really display true emotion. If this were to actually happen to a couple of kids, I can see them reacting in exactly the way Q and Angela do.
My favorite part of the book is the fact that there is really a perfect amount of techy talk, action, and thrills, but not too much of any of them. So many books in this genre are filled with characters getting killed and bad language, but I, Q really keeps everything in perspective. There is talk of guns and some slight violence, but I would have no problem recommending this to my teens and middle school patrons and would have confidence telling their parents it is a safe read.
If you want to read more about I, Q (which is the first in a series...YAY!!!!!) or to purchase click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.