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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Jeopardy in Geneva: JJ Bennett, Junior Spy, Book 2 is an action and adventure thriller novel for children and preteens written by Alba Arango. While JJ’s father was currently working on an assignment in Bern, he and Maggie’s mother, Ms. Hernandez, had decided to have them all stay in Geneva as there were so many more cultural and other activities in that city. JJ was already pretty stoked about the new friend he and Maggie had just recently made. Orion and his dad stayed in Geneva every year at this time to try to document the annual visit made by aliens from outer space. According to Orion, the Swiss downplay the event each year as they don’t want UFO fanatics crowding out the skiers, but his dad had already amassed some very impressive photographic evidence. While JJ wasn’t at all convinced about the arrival any day now of alien spaceships, he liked the idea of having another boy to pal around with, especially when Maggie and her mom wanted to go shopping.
Jeopardy in Geneva immerses the reader in the history, culture and gastronomic delights of that city as JJ and Maggie contend with alien spaceships, members of the children’s branch of the KGB and Ms. Hernandez’ rigorous schedule of cultural visits and schooling. While this is the second book in the JJ Bennett, Junior Spy series, Arango includes enough background information to allow this book to be read on its own. That said, I’d strongly advise beginning with the first book, Problems in Prague, setting up the relationships between JJ and his dad, Maggie and Ms. Hernandez. It also introduces JJ’s grandmother who raised him after his mom died.
Jeopardy in Geneva is fun and fast-paced. I enjoyed seeing how Maggie and JJ's investigative teamwork has been enhanced by their experiences, and I loved getting to know Geneva with them as my guides. And yes, as with the Prague book, I got to learn about some marvelous Swiss dishes that had me looking for the nearest Swiss restaurant. Like JJ, the high point for me in their cultural touring was the Museum of Natural History. Arango’s plot is ingenious, and the mystery of the alien space ships is great fun to puzzle over. I also loved the paranormal touch Arango imparts to the story with JJ’s grandmother visiting him in dreams. Jeopardy in Geneva: JJ Bennett, Junior Spy, Book 2 is most highly recommended.