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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
The Super Code by Kay Dietsch is a fun mystery and adventure book for middle-graders with a gifted girl at its core. In the town of Trisburg, a centaur named Bienor has muttered a dark incantation in a deep forest and is soon talking to a malevolent creature named Erebus, who is in need of a new spell to conquer the world. In keeping up with current times, the new spell is a super code—a spell rhyme programmed to release an evil nightmare virus that will spread like wildfire to millions of children. Bienor is given only twenty-four hours to study the new rhyme and only one chance to cast it. But his spell will be stolen, and a girl named Avina with her extra-special heart will change the world one heart at a time.
This first installment in the Avina Heart trilogy makes a good story, with an upbeat charm like that of Spy Kids and We Can Be Heroes. I’m willing to bet that it will please its target audience of elementary school kids. Parents and teachers can talk about the fact that this story teaches responsibility in the way Spider-Man embraces his nature after acquiring his superpower. Similarly, it talks about sibling relationships as it illustrates Avina’s relationship with her brother. The best part is that Kay Dietsch doesn’t skimp on the thrills, putting kids at the center of the action. The author doesn’t talk down to her audience, as if Dietsch has imagined herself as a middle-grader while writing this story to make sure that she understands what makes kids tick. On top of it, Erebus is a formidable villain and the type that kids enjoy trying to beat near the end of a video game. The Super Code is a promising start to an exciting trilogy that will give kids, parents, and teachers something to talk about as the story gives meaning to the power of the heart.