The sequel to Ethan Marcus Stands Up
Siblings Ethan and Erin Marcus may be only eleven months apart in age, but they're a million miles apart in every other way. Ethan's laid-back and doesn't plan beyond his next snack, and Erin's intense, super organized, and super serious. So when these two polar opposites both receive invitations to attend a prestigious tech/maker camp during winter break of seventh grade, complications are bound to happen.
Brian crosses one foot over the other. "What does that have to do with us?"
Ms. Gilardi points at him. "Glad you asked. Not only is Z a young sensation, but he's very generous with his time. Z is committed to growing the future generation of techpreneurs. A term he coined himself."
Erin leans forward and her eyes get wide. "Are you talking about his innovation camps?"
Gilardi clasps her hands. "Yes!"
"His what camps?" Brian says.
"Z runs exclusive pop-up tech camps for kids," Gilardi says. "Zak Canzeri Innovation Camp, or as they call them, ZCIC. No one knows when the next one will be. They're very secretive about the process."
She looks at each of us, slowly, one by one. "I can now reveal that I nominated all of you for the next ZCIC when I learned it was going to be held in northern Illinois."
My sister gasps, but all I'm thinking is, I'm not in trouble. . . . I've been nominated for something.
Even though Ethan and Erin reached a better understanding of each other after their experiences with Invention Day at school, Erin thinks her brother's invitation is a mistake. How could Ethan have been chosen to attend this exclusive camp led by Zak Canzeri, the tech sensation known to the world as "Z." Only top-notch makers get invited. It's Erin's doubt that pushes Ethan to go. He may be out of his league, but he gets inspired after seeing an exhibit about the Wright Brothers and is determined to make his desk-evator right this time.
Their friends Brian and Zoe were invited to attend the camp as well but neither can go, and they're dealing with their own problems. Ethan teams up with spacy, Zen-girl Natalia, and Erin works with casual but brilliant Connor, who codes and likes her study app idea. Marlon Romanov is at the camp too, and Erin's never forgiven him for his comment about men being better than "girls" in science. She's focused on beating him.
But then everything starts collapsing. Ethan sees something suspicious with Z and starts to think there's more going on at the camp than just kids inventing things. What's up with the secret room in the "off-limits" hallway? Erin overhears two girls talking about Romanov's stellar idea and fears her invention won't measure up. Ethan and Natalia aren't making much progress. At the eleventh hour, it's Brian who comes up with the solution that Ethan and Erin should combine their ideas and teams, but the clock is ticking. With one day left, can they actually create a workable model of their new, spectacular plan? And will Z ever take off his cool guy sunglasses and reveal his motives? Is it what Ethan suspects? What's really behind the camp?
"Hurwitz captures sibling rivalry with insight and humor; tweens will see themselves, their friends, and frenemies in the characters and identify with the middle school life and drama. Voice is important here, adding dimension and raising tension as narration shifts between Erin's, Ethan's and Marlon's perspectives. This entertaining sequel to Ethan Marcus Stands Up (2017) begs for a comfy reading corner where laughs are permitted."
"Told in alternating voices—Ethan's; his best friend, Brian's; superorganized Erin's; her best friend, Zoe's; and a new character, Marlon's—this book offers a variety of personality types and situations for middle-grade readers who like to see themselves and their worlds in story. The advantage of this narrative construction is the way it gives readers the ability to see characters from different points of view. A satisfying sequel."
Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, paperback, November 2019
Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, hardcover, November 2018