Title: Hacking Timbuktu
Author: Stephen Davies
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pub Date: 2010
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Convince us to read the book: This book is about a pair of pals who not only practice the sport/martial art of parkour, but also hack! This is a very original premise and a much needed fresh topic in the action genre. It was enormous fun to read the parkour chase scenes and the witty dialogue as the main characters raced through London and Mali looking for clues that lead to an ancient treasure. Even though some concepts suspended my belief (being chased by fanatic treasure-hunting Facebook groups, hacking an airport computer system, figuring out how to find the treasure with relative ease), I read two thirds of it in one night and then finished as soon as I woke up.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling parts of this book are the descriptions of parkour and the dialogue between the two main characters. The prose was fresh, exciting, and didn't take itself too seriously.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: Yes
Reasons you were disappointed with the book: Unfortunately, the last 60 pages did not live up to the rest of the book. The ending seemed rushed, had less parkour and sort of fizzled out without a strong stopping place. Nonetheless I would read a sequel because the beginning was so amazing.
Cover: The jumping guy overlaid on the computer chip and city background does a neat job of showing the three main topics of the book (parkour, hacking, Timbuktu). It was refreshing to see a cover that was not black. The font of the title ties in to the ancient treasure hunt aspect nicely.
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Comments: I really wish there were more books, and attention in general, about parkour.