Middleworld, the first book in The Jaguar Stones series by J & P Voelkel, is a very interesting and exciting book that many teens would enjoy. However, this book is directed towards boys more than girls. If you like action adventure books, this is for you, as it deals with a 14 year old boy named Max Murphy who lives in Boston.
One day, Max is mysteriously sent on a quest to the South American jungle to rescue his missing archeologist parents. Max has a very difficult time, as his biggest talent is playing video games, and he wants nothing to do with nature. On Max’s journey, he teams up with a witty and clever Mayan girl named Lola, who helps Max rescue his parents from the Mayan underworld.
Middleworld has a story within a story, and can be a little confusing in the beginning, as when Max goes to live with his uncle in South America, who Max thinks is in the banana business, but is really a smuggler. Also, Tiny Jim, the uncle’s right hand, seems to hate Max, but surprises the reader at the end of the book. As this book draws to a close, all of these events will make sense.
There are many funny and scary moments in this book, making the book hard to put down; such as when Max finally faces the Mayan Lords of Death, and has to outsmart them, or when the Mayan villagers play a practical joke on Max by giving him very spicy stew to eat. This book also provides a lot of interesting background information on the Mayan people, and their relics and pyramids, so if one enjoys history, this book will be especially interesting.
Overall, Middleworld is a very exciting book, and I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series. This book is definitely one that everybody should read, and once they start, I promise that they will not be able to put it down until they are finished.
-Will R., 8th grade