What I thought: The first chapter could have been a prologue but I'm glad it wasn't. It started out with exciting action that left me suspecting a few things would come up again. The main character is a likeable seventh grade boy that many MG readers can relate to. Toby is smart at math but average at most other things, wants to do what is right, but not afraid to have fun with a well-deserved prank. He can tough out his problems and rely on himself or his two close friends as needed. His unusual gifts make him interesting and slightly enviable. Toby's hard life as a foster child is mentioned in the right amount and gives him the proper detachment from his home-life to fit the story. I liked the use of FD10 (foster dad number 10) to portray this.
Events lead Toby to investigate a mystery in which financial terms are employed in easy to swallow doses. Great stuff with a touch of magic. Readers love it when there's a code for deciphering, but I couldn't crack it. A couple things could have been improved upon, but mostly for older readers. Once or twice the omniscient voice took me out of the story to consider what felt like a change in point of view but maybe was just my take on it. Haven't read that POV in a while. There were a few silly things that the reader just has to go with, such as a kid being given keys to an employer's house or office. These can be overlooked. I found touches of humor for adult readers too, like a reference to one foster parent liking Hall & Oats. The book resolves nicely with Toby attempting to get himself out of a pickle but is aided by the two friends in a familiar way. He sticks to his goals, even when it could jeopardize the relationships that mean most. The friend we care about most will benefit from Toby's decision. All ends are wrapped up but not perfectly neat and tidy. Realistically satisfying. I hope there are more adventures ahead for Toby Gold.
About the Author:
In 2009, while volunteering in public school classrooms in West Lafayette Indiana, author Craig Everett recognized that traditional methods of teaching personal finance to kids were not having the desired results nationally. Despite significant efforts to add finance topics to school curricula, financial literacy test scores have not markedly improved in many areas of the country. There had to be a better way. Thus was born the idea of incorporating financial literacy concepts into a fantasy novel that both middle-grade and high school youth would enjoy reading. TOBY GOLD AND THE SECRET FORTUNE is a fun and entertaining reading experience as well as one more useful tool in the struggle to improve youth financial literacy.
Craig R. Everett was born and raised in Maine, spending his childhood summers digging along the shores of Bar Harbor for buried pirate treasure. Fortunately, he was able to remain blissfully unaware that pirates seldom, if ever, ventured that far north. He received his B.A. in Economics from Tufts University, an MBA from George Mason University, and a Ph.D. in Finance from Purdue University.
Dr. Everett is currently a finance professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, where he teaches corporate and entrepreneurial finance. Dr. Everett also volunteers in public schools teaching financial literacy principles.
Visit Craig at: www.craigeverett.com. He has an Amazon link there for purchases. ISBN: 978-1-936-21495-2