Monday, March 3, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Hypnotists

I’ve decided to read all the nominees for the 2014 Silver Birch Award from the Ontario Library Association, but I might have picked this one anyway. I’ve enjoyed several of Gordon Korman’s series in the past, like Everest, Dive and Kidnapped, as well as last year’s Silver Birch nominee, Ungifted (featured on my blog here).  

Today’s Pick: The Hypnotists

by Gordon Korman

Scholastic, 2013

From Amazon:

Jackson Opus has always been persuasive, but he doesn't know that he's descended from the two most powerful hypnotist bloodlines on the planet. He's excited to be accepted into a special program at the Sentia Institute — but when he realizes he's in over his head, Jackson will have to find a way to use his powers to save his friends, his parents, and his government.

My Take:

The concept behind this book was a lot of fun, and the fast pace kept the story moving right up to the ending. Speaking of the ending, even though this storyline was wrapped up, there were a few unanswered questions to be explored in the next book. And the last line, “It was time to disappear off the face of the earth” really made me want to read it.

This is a story where the main character confronts an evil villain and “saves the day” but with lots of twists and turns along the way. I enjoyed the voice and bits of humor sprinkled through the story.

As a writer, I found it interesting that even though the author broke some writing “rules” such as using dialogue tags like “challenged”, “panted”, and “intoned”, on my first read through I barely noticed. I only realized after, when I was writing this post and thinking about quotes to pull out. It highlights for me how important it is to have a compelling and interesting story and not get hung up over thinking about “rules” of writing.

 Opening Line:

“There was something evil about the Third Avenue bus.”


“Sometimes, Jackson, true greatness can only be achieved through extraordinary measures.”

 “The silence was so total that it would have been possible to hear the six footsteps of an ant walking across the floor.”

Other Info:

Gordon Korman was born in Montreal, Canada and wrote his first book, This Can't be Happening at Macdonald Hall when he was 12 years old in grade 7.  It was published when he was 14.

On the Scholastic website, he is quoted as saying, “I always start off with something real, but then I unleash my imagination to make it more exciting, funnier, or a better story. To be honest, by the time a book is done, you can’t recognize much of the real-life part.”

In GordonAnswers the Top Ten Questions Kids Ask, he talks about whether he’s been hypnotized: “No, but I have a close friend who’s a licensed hypnotherapist. He helped me a lot.”

Other books by this author include:

This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall '78
Go Jump In The Pool '79
Beware The Fish '80
I Want To Go Home '81
Who Is Bugs Potter '80
Our Man Weston '82
Bugs Potter LIVE at Nickaninny '83
The War With Mr. Wizzle '82
No Coins Please '84
Don't Care High '85
Son Of Interflux '86
A Semester In The Life Of A Garbage Bag '87
The Zucchini Warriors '88
Radio 5th Grade '89
Losing Joe's Place '90
Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood '91
The D- Poems of Jeremy Bloom '92
The Twinkie Squad '92
The Toilet Paper Tigers '93
Why Did The Underwear Cross The Road '94
The Last-Place Sports Poems of Jeremy Bloom '96
Something Fishy At Macdonald Hall '95
The Chicken Doesn't Skate '96
Liar, Liar Pants On Fire '97
The Sixth Grade Nickname Game '98
Quarterback Exchange: I was John Elway '97
Running Back Conversion: I was Barry Sanders '97
Super Bowl Switch: I was Dan Marino '97
Heavy Artillary: I was Junior Seau '97
Ultimate Scoring Machine: I was Jerry Rice '98
NFL Rules! Bloopers, Pranks, Upsets, and Touchdowns '98
No More Dead Dogs '00
Slapshots 1 - The Stars From Mars '99
Nose Pickers From Outer Space '99
Slapshots 2 - All-Mars All-Stars '99
Planet Of the Nose Pickers '00
Slapshots 3 - The Face-off Phony '00
Your Mummy Is A Nose Picker '00
Slapshots 4 - Cup Crazy '00
Invasion Of The Nose Pickers '01
Shipwreck (Island Book 1) '01
Survival (Island Book 2) '01
Escape (Island Book 3) '01
Son Of the Mob '02
The Contest (Everest Book 1) '02
The Climb (Everest Book 2) '02
The Summit (Everest Book 3) '02
Maxx Comedy: The Funniest Kid in America'03
Jake, Reinvented '03
Dive Trilogy '03 
Son of the Mob: Hollywood Hustle '04
On the Run (Series) '04-'05
Born to Rock '05
Kidnapped (Series) '06
Schooled '07
Swindle '08
The Juvie Three '08
One False Note (39 Clues Book 2) '08
Zoobreak '09
Pop '09
The Emperor's Code (39 Clues Book 8) '10
Framed '10
Titanic Trilogy '11
The Medusa Plot (Kahills vs. Vespers Book 1) '11
Showoff '12
Hideout '13 
Ungifted ‘13

For more, visit Gordon Korman's website.

You can find more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday books by checking out Shannon Messenger’s blog! Shannon is the founder of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and the author of the middle grade novels, Keeper of the Lost Cities and Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities #2).


  1. With that long list of other books by Gordon Korman, I'm embarrassed I haven't read anything by him. Maybe this will be the one. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. I was introduced to Gordon Korman's writing with SCHOOLED. That got me hooked and I can't wait to read this one. Thanks for featuring.

  3. Sounds like a good one!'s always interesting to me how many 'writing rules' are broken. :-)

  4. I love those quotes, especially the one about ants walking across the floor! Sounds like a fun read--I'm adding it to my list. Thx for the recommend, and happy MMGM!


  5. Thanks for the review! Like Natalie (above), I haven't read any of his books~ will have to remedy that!

  6. Thanks for the review! Like Natalie (above), I haven't read anything by him~ will have to remedy that!

  7. Wow! I'm impressed by his long list of books and that he started writing at 12! This sounds like an interesting one, especially for boys. Thanks for sharing, Andrea!


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