My rating: ★☆☆☆☆
I cannot possibly communicate to you how much disappointment this book brought me.
I adore Ron Roy’s A to Z Mysteries series, and I have for as long as I can remember. The Super Specials are still being released, which I didn’t realize until recently, so that’s thrilling for me. A little piece of my childhood is still ongoing, and that’s great.
He has also created Calendar Mysteries, a spin-off of A to Z Mysteries for younger readers, focusing on the A to Z characters’ younger siblings. I’ve read every one of those books that has been released thus far, and they didn’t disappoint, either. They’re more juvenile than the A to Z books, but bearably so. It pleases me to think that there’s another generation of youngsters learning to love reading through that series, as well.
A to Z Mysteries and Calendar Mysteries are both set in the small town of Green Lawn, Connecticut. Roy’s Capital Mysteries series is set in the same universe as the Green Lawn books, as evidenced when the two sets of characters met in White House White-out. So I expected the Capital Mysteries series to be more of the same, in a good way.
I was wrong. While the Green Lawn books are very firmly rooted in reality, with all the fantastic elements being explained by the end of the mysteries, that is not the case with the Capital books–or at least not with Who Cloned the President?, which features science fiction elements that are absolutely jarring in the Green Lawn universe… And frankly, that deeply frustrates me.
You see, I went into this expecting the impossible scenario the title and blurb imply to be refuted by the facts as they unravel over the course of the mystery–like in every other Roy book I’ve ever read. That was not the case, unfortunately. In this expansion of the Green Lawn universe, human cloning has already been perfected and is actively being harnessed by a nefarious company with a grudge against the President. Somehow this company manages to kidnap the President of the United States and replace him with a clone–and no one notices besides an unrelated fourth-grade girl, who then breaks into the White House, figures out which President is the clone, and saves the real President. And her only assistance in this daring rescue mission is a fourth-grade boy. In the end, the bad guys are put away, the clone turns out to be a swell guy, and the President becomes eternally grateful to KC. I can only assume that off-screen, every single person tasked in any way, shape, or form with protecting the President has been fired. At least.
*sigh* A to Z Mysteries and Calendar Mysteries have run for years, and over their run have explored the world of Green Lawn and distinctly sets its boundaries of reality. Capital Mysteries is set in the same universe and yet flies past those boundaries without a second thought about the reader’s suspension of disbelief.
The saddest part of it all is that it didn’t have to be this way. Had the cross-over A to Z installment never existed, there would be nothing (that I’ve read yet, at least) to imply that these three series were set in the same universe, and that would have given Capital the leeway for this ridiculous plot. But instead, they opted for what I had assumed to be a fun crossover–until I read Who Cloned the President?, at which point I’ve been forced to realize that it’s less “fun” and more “grating”.
But I have the entire series sitting unread beside me on the desk, so I assume I’ll be reading onward. I can only hope that the later books in the series can somehow make up for this installment, because at the moment, I am very, very, disappoint.