Max Ein­stein: The Genius Experiment

James Pat­ter­son and Chris Grabenstein

  • Review
By – February 11, 2019

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.

Jil­lian Bietz stud­ied library tech­nol­o­gy and research skills and cur­rent­ly works in the library sys­tem. She is a book review­er for the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and Kirkus Review Indie. Jil­lian lives in South­ern California.

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