Twelve-year-old Max Einstein is an orphan, living with a group of other squatters above a horse stable in New York City. Max is also a genius. Using her supreme computer hacking skills, she even manages to attend classes at NYU. Max is obsessed with Albert Einstein; she frequently references his theories, implements his observations and wisdom in her daily life, and has imaginary conversations with the famous scientist.
One day, Max is yanked out of her NYU class and taken to a foster home, where she is visited by two people who tell her they are agents from the Change Makers Institute, which urgently needs her assistance. The agents inform Max that she is being trailed by the evil Dr. Zimm and his Corporation, who know all about her and want her to work for their nefarious organization. The Change Makers Institute whisks Max off to its headquarters in Jerusalem, where she meets eight other whiz kids from around the world. The children learn that the goal of the Change Makers Institute is to identify the one child who can help make the world a better place using science and technology. Max and her friends begin their first mission and soon learn that not everyone is as they seem. When Max realizes that the Corporation has discovered her whereabouts and that she and her friends are in danger, she uses her skills to foil the evil organization and save herself and the others.
Max is a smart and spirited heroine, and authors Patterson and Grabenstein successfully weave many STEM concepts into the narrative. Although there is no major emphasis on Judaism, there is intense focus on Albert Einstein, who was Jewish, and whose groundbreaking achievements are highlighted in a kid-friendly, relatable way. Max spends much of the story in Israel, where she visits the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; it is made clear to readers that the country is significant to the technology field.
Ending on an adventurous and intriguing note, the story will continue as a series. Max Einstein is recommended for young fans of action and adventure.