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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Liana Gardner's 7th Grade Revolution is inspired by true events. The 7th grade class receives news their revolution has succeeded, which puts them in charge. Events take a stranger turn following the students meeting for a policy vote. They discover the FBI has evacuated the school and overhear the plan the FBI has to find a treasure hidden somewhere in the school. The students must work together to defend their school from the FBI and to follow the clues left by the history buff - whose home was converted into their school - to find the hidden treasure.
Liana Gardner draws inspiration from real students who led a revolution in their school as part of a project. Gardner's 7th Grade Revolution brings this to life, beginning with the students succeeding, but the story quickly weaves in a thriller and adventure twist, tying in a mysterious connection to history. The illustrations found throughout are unique and lovely, adding to the mystery with the use of darker colors, shadows, and shading. The adventure takes place entirely inside the school, which works perfectly for the thrilling mystery they discover through a hidden staircase and a secret cavern. The school's connection to history ties into the Revolutionary War, thanks to the original owner being into history, so its history and secrets are linked to the history of the war. The students defend their school in ways reminiscent of Home Alone, which sees a similar gathering of items they have around them and making weapons to help defend their school. Treasure hunting is the largest focus throughout the plot as the students race against the FBI to find this hidden treasure, which is paired with a conspiracy angle highlighted in the actions of these suspicious men seeking the treasure for unknown reasons and, in doing so, evacuated the school.
The story also explores friendship and teamwork through these students, each from different situations and backgrounds, who bond over fighting for their school and following clues to treasure. The extreme circumstances allow them a chance to see each other in a new light, to trust each other, and to understand each other. The characters focused on are mainly Rhonda and Dennis, but several other characters are included throughout, each playing a key role in either the fight against the FBI or searching for the treasure as each uses their skills to uncover secrets. With stunning illustrations, 7th Grade Revolution is a treasure hunting adventure exploring themes of friendship, growing up, teamwork, and history.