By Andrew Zack
One of the best things about being a dad is that I get to read kids’ books. If I read kids’ books as a kid, I have to confess, I don’t really remember them. I vaguely recall a bunch of books from the Scholastic Library on the shelf, but not actually reading them. I remember a rainy day and reading THE FINCHES FABULOUS FURNACE in one sitting (a book that made such an impression I bought it used and have now read it to my own son). And I remember reading every Hardy Boys, the Three Investigators, and Encyclopedia Brown novel in print. But there are so many more—many classics!—that I never read. And now I get to read them to my four-year-old. It’s a neat perk.
But getting kids to read is harder in this day and age. There are so many more TV shows and video games and the entire Internet to explore. Kids today are overscheduled and distracted. Is it any wonder they may not like to read? There’s even a term for it, “reluctant readers,” and now there are even books just to target them.
But don’t think these are books are somehow “less than” because of their target. Rather, they are “more than.” More character-driven, more action-packed, and more thrilling. Which brings me to F.T. Bradley’s new novel, DOUBLE VISION.
Undercover spies, codes and ciphers, a secret painting with unimaginable powers… It’s all in a day’s work when you’re one of the world’s top kid agents.
But Linc Baker isn’t a kid agent at all. He just happens to look exactly like one of them.
And when this lookalike goes missing, Linc will have to impersonate him on a mission that plunges him into a world of intrigue and danger.
No pressure, right?
By using codes and ciphers throughout the book (don’t worry; the answers are in the back), Bradley hopes to engage readers with more than a great story. The marketing copy says this is like THE DA VINCI CODE in that respect.
Having started as an adult thriller writer and then a YA thriller writer, Bradley knows what’s involved, but it wasn’t until she worked closely with her agent, Stephen Barbara, and her editors at HarperCollins, Barbara Lalicki and Andrew Harwell, to develop a Middle-Grade concept that it all came together.
“I’ve always been a lover of the thriller genre, but a lot of it was developed with my agent and some with my Harper editors. We had a clear idea we wanted it to be an adventure series, but at the same time Linc is a very down-to-earth character and it’s his ingenuity that carries the story.”
With two more in the series already under contract, Bradley hopes to turn more of those “reluctant readers” into voracious ones!