I’ve greatly enjoyed this trilogy, read with the Kindle app on my phone, about a group of six very smart teenagers who met and bonded through a high school chess team in San Francisco. In the first book they are traveling back from a chess competition in Europe when their plane has to make an emergency crash landing on a small, barren island near Iceland. The book’s first half is a survival story in which the kids end up leading efforts to keep everyone alive and healthy until they are rescued. Back in San Francisco, the news is all about the threat of nuclear war from a dictator in a country meant to resemble North Korea. The group decides they want to try to do something about that, and they hack into the country’s communications system and convince the dictator to back down.
The second book has the kids involved in another well-meant hacking event trying to take money from banks they feel was gained illegally and redistributed to those in need. This time they are found out, and are forced to flee. Their friend, the pilot of the crashed jet from book one, helps them return to the barren island, where they set up camp again, and through the internet, begin to work once more on creating a more peaceful world. Through clever plans and negotiations with international groups, and with the help of media fans, they are actually able to make some progress with this.
In the third book, their camp on the remote island gets invaded by the press, creating problems, and their peace negotiations hit roadblocks. The parents of the children are also unhappy with their role and situation, and some come to break up the club. Meanwhile, a world-famous pop singer is helping them, and fundraising events on the internet are bringing some of their goals closer to reality, but can they actually succeed when so many have failed, even with millions of fans and many new friends?
This is a fun and smart series. Each of the kids is a well-rounded and unique person, and their interactions are as important as the larger plot line. The stories are never predictable, and the books are well-written. Any smart teenager would probably enjoy them. I’m not one of those, but I did too.