Solving mysteries and stopping the bad guys: what better way to spend a summer for a boy away from his family? John gets to help save the day for one of America’s national treasures, serving God and his country…except he’s not supposed to be there. St. Michael the Archangel Academy has made a mistake bringing John into their top-secret school for kids with exceptional talents. Does he have a special talent? If he does, he sure doesn’t know what it is, and nobody does, either! In Andrea Jo Rodgers’ Saving Mount Rushmore, she brings her talents to bear with this story about John, an average thirteen year old boy who learns that “every person has special God-given gifts—including him.”
It’s difficult to understate the great things about this book. It definitely reads the way it should from the perspective of a thirteen year old boy, making no secret of his feelings of awkwardness and self-consciousness. The descriptions are straightforward as those of a kid of his age, and they demonstrate well his personality and keen observance. John makes a good average hero with strengths and foibles kids can relate to. Rodgers doesn’t talk down to kids in the least, showing them to be intelligent and having a lot to contribute. The central conflict is uncomplicated enough that kids can follow it easily, but it’s not too simple—there’s still a challenge there, enough to keep their attention.
Only a couple small issues stood out. Some of the dialogue is slightly repetitive, and the children sometimes seem more mature than it seems they should be.
Overall, this is a great adventurous read for middle grade readers with characters they can easily relate to, especially John. My own kids, who fit squarely into this readership, would enjoy it and take something lasting away from it, which just as it should be. Though I’m pretty far removed from that age bracket, I found myself rooting for John and his team, and I’d like to see more of his adventures too!
Anaiah Press provided me a complimentary copy of this book for which I wrote an honest review.