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Middleworld by J&P Voelkel
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Middleworld

by J&P Voelkel

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Non-stop action and a fascinating look at Mayan culture, ancient and modern. Read my entire review:

http://www.wandsandworlds.com/blog1/2007/09/book-review-middleworld.html ( )
  SheilaRuth | Aug 23, 2013 |
Good adventure story with lots of Mayan mythology and supernatural elements to give it flavor. Fast-paced, easy reading. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
Read my review at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog! ( )
  herebebooks | Dec 29, 2010 |
Reviewed by Theresa L. Stowell for TeensReadToo.com

Massimo Francis Sylvanus Murphy hates to be called by his whole name. It’s much too formal, like his parents who are famous archaeologists and Harvard professors. He much prefers Max. Max is much more fitting for a fourteen-year-old who loves video games, pizza, and the drums.

Max has his summer vacation planned out; he and his parents are going to Italy to visit his grandmother. Unfortunately, his parents come home early one night and ruin his plans – they are going on a dig, Max is staying home with Zia, the weird maid, and Italy is out of the question.

A week after his parents leave, however, Max finds a plane ticket next to his breakfast cereal. Zia tells him that “they” have told her that Max is special and she is sending him to San Xavier to meet his parents as a result. Max never does find out who “they” are, but he’s on his way within hours.

Strangely enough though, his uncle (with whom his parents are supposed to be staying) isn’t all that welcoming. He wants Max to stay out of the way while he deals with mysterious business associates and disappears into a strangely empty office for hours at a time. Uncle Ted doesn’t count on the fact that Max isn’t the type to avoid a challenge, and Max discovers a hidden treasure room that contains Mayan treasures. One of the treasures is the Red Jaguar of Chahk, a fabulous jewel carved into the shape of a jaguar’s head.

When Max spies two monkeys stealing the Red Jaguar, he sets off on an adventure to find his parents, who is turns out are missing, and the other three jaguar stones. Along the way he joins up with Lola, a Mayan girl, who has more than just a passing interest in his quest. The story takes the two on an exciting adventure through the San Xavier jungle as they seek the answers to the mysteries of the jaguar stones, Max’s parents, and the dangerous villain Count Antonio de Landa.

This is a great story for both boys and girls who enjoy a hero journey tale. Not only are the characters engaging, and the quest hair-raising, but subtle history lessons about the ancient Mayan civilization provide an extra layer of depth. ( )
  GeniusJen | Nov 5, 2010 |
Max, 14, lead character of Middleworld by J&P Voelkel has archaelogist parents who are obsessed with the Maya. Essentially, he has the coolest parents EVAR! However, he thinks his parents are lame. Um, what? Max, dear, have you met MY parents? Their interests include country music, fart jokes, and complaining about how much things cost. Anyways, priviledged Max really grated on my nerves, I kept wanting to tell him to STFU or GTFO.Max winds up in Central America, in a chase for the Jaguar Stones which are like the sorceror's stone in Harry Potter, only these stones control the gods. He whines a whole lot in Central America. He's rude to the natives. Eventually, he comes across a Mayan girl named Lola. She's like a 14 year old Lara Croft. Girl has got it going on. She was definitely my favorite character, aside from the gods. I think this was because Lola was SO different from Max.I will say, this book is quite funny in several instances. However, the humor is a bit juvenile for MY tastes. But, it's a juvenile book, so really, what do I expect. It's also quite educational. I learned quite a bit about the Mayan religion, calendars, and food. This isn't really an adult-YA-MG crossover. I think the appeal is strictly for te MG set, which is fine. Not every book has to appeal to children and adults. Ultimately this would be great for middle schoolers, but not me, an adult reader of YA. ( )
  booksandwine | Oct 7, 2010 |
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Its a very good book i say. Its action packed, full of suspense, etc. a definitly recommended book to people who like mayan history, adventure, action, and mystery.
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When his archaeologist parents go missing in Central America, fourteen-year-old Max embarks on a wild adventure through the Mayan underworld in search of the legendary Jaguar Stones, which enabled ancient Mayan kings to wield the powers of living gods. Includes cast of characters, glossary, facts about the Maya cosmos and calendar, and a recipe for chicken tamales.… (more)

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