Spencer discovers in the first few pages of the novel that his little brother, Bunny (or Bernard), has disappeared. Because of Bunny's sketchy past and strange behavior, this isn't too unusual, until Spencer gets a call from the person who kidnapped his brother. Then he races around Toronto trying to figure out who has his brother and why, meanwhile spending as much time as possible with his friend AmberLea, who he has a serious crush on. AmberLea is cool enough to help Spencer with his search, even rescuing him from an alligator in a motel room. This book is outrageous, fast-paced, and sometimes downright silly. The kidnappers and enemies were not convincing in the least, most of the plot points were just too silly to believe, and the only thing that kept me reading was Spencer's funny narrative.
I can only recommend the SEVEN SEQUELS series for very special cases of reluctant readers. While the content would appeal to older readers, in high school or even college-age, the writing is too full of complex vocabulary and context-specific jargon to work in this context. Another issue is that despite it being a series, the exposition regarding the main character's family and history are rehashed in every single book - this was boring to me, and I fully expect it to be a boring turn-off for readers. However, if that hadn't been the case, and the exposition had been left out, the reader wouldn't have been able to just pick up one of the sequels and ""read one, read them all, you choose the order"" like is advertised everywhere in the book - because they would have been missing key plot points and character relationships. It's unfortunate, because I can see this series filling a gap in interesting series for reluctant readers.
Grades: 8 - adult
Literary Merit: Poor