Book Review: The Genius Factor: How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin

The Genius Factor: How to Capture an Invisible Cat is a middle grade novel written by Paul Tobin and illustrated by Thierry Lafontaine. Every Friday the 13th, 6th grade genius and inventor extraordinaire Nate Bannister does three not-so-smart things to keep life interesting. This time, he taught a caterpillar math, mailed a love letter, and super-sized his cat Proton before turning him invisible. As Nate and his new (well, only) friend Delphine race to stop Proton from crushing everyone and everything in town, they come face-to-face with Sir Jakob Maculte (the twenty-seventh lord of Mayberry Castle and leader of the nefarious Red Death Tea Society). Known for its criminal activity, killer tactics, and impressive tea brewing skills, the Red Death Tea Society will do anything to get in their way.  Nate and Delphine must pull out every mind-blowing gadget, half-perfected invention, and unproven but theoretically sound strategy they've got up their sleeves in order to survive to see Saturday the 14th!

The Genius Factor: How to Capture an Invisible Cat is quite an adventure. The story begins with Delphine being the quirky girl she is. She is bubbly and interesting and even though she is far from boring and often gets herself into trouble she makes friends easily with just about everyone. Nate tends to disappear into the background even though he is a genius. I liked his awkward brilliance, and how he thinks well outside of the box. The very different kids come together in friendship and work together to solve a giant, invisible problem, and manage to cooperate even when they do not completely understand each other. I like that while to two become friends, their relationship is as unique as the two in it rather than becoming instant and forever best friends. The action was fast, sometimes silly and other times made me nervous for the characters. The story was very creative and the characters unique while not being difficult to relate to, which is a tough balance to find. I believe this is the start of a series, and am looking forward to seeing what Nate does on the next Friday the 13th as well as what further fiascos from the Red Death Tea Society has in store.


The Genius Factor: How to Capture an Invisible Cat is a fantastic adventure with great characters and action. I think it will capture the attention of a wide variety of readers and might become a fast favorite for many.
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