39 Clues: The Maze of Bones


Book Summary:

After their grandmother Grace dies, Amy and Dan Cahill get a glimpse of their family’s true nature. At Grace’s exclusive last will and testament, Amy and Dan, along with every family member who received an invitation, are given a proposition: They can take their $1 million inheritance and never look back, or they can receive the first of 39 clues that promise to send them on an adventure and the possibility of winning unimaginable power. But with the possibility of power also comes the promise of grave danger as each team tries to eliminate the other. So who will accept the challenge, and who will win?

APA Reference of Book:

Riordan, R. (2008). 39 clues: the maze of bones. New York, NY: Scholastic.


Believe it or not, this was my first experience reading anything by Rick Riordan. I didn’t go in expecting much (I honestly had no idea what to expect), but this quick paced, action filled book captured my attention. Even though this is a story aimed at kids, it does not underestimate their intelligence and sense of adventure. The characters are relatable; there’s the painfully shy Amy who is an intelligent but stuttering 14-year-old bibliophile, and Dan who is a precocious 11-years-old math genius.

I genuinely think that this is a story for both kids and adults to enjoy. That being said, the one complaint I really have is the ending. I don’t know much about the series, but I hope that the second book picks up and allows for some closure. Be warned, if you read this one you will in all likelihood have to read the next and the next. I am also a little wary about each book in the series being written by a different author, but I think that this could also be a good opportunity to experience the writing styles of more authors I am unfamiliar with. I can see where this author swapping could be both a positive and a negative on the series, but I guess I’ll just have to pick up the next one to find out.

Professional Review:

“Built around a ripe conceit—wealthy matriarch scatters cryptic clues to a mysterious fortune around the globe—this first installment in a projected 10-book series is tons of fun. Lead-off hitter Riordan (The Lightning Thief ) mixes just the right proportions of suspense, peril and puzzles in a fast-paced read (Riordan mapped the narrative arc for all 10 volumes, but other high-profile authors will be writing for the series, too). Likable orphans Amy and Dan Cahill have moxie (plus Dan can memorize numbers instantly) and frailties (Amy hates crowds). As the siblings compete with less honorable members of the Cahill clan, all distantly related to Benjamin Franklin, to win the fortune by collecting all 39 clues (only two are found in this first book), they learn about their dead parents, each other and world history. The humor is spot on—one uncle is credited with inventing the microwave burrito. The only flaw? The story does not end so much as drop off a cliff. (The second book, One False Note by Gordon Korman, is set to arrive in December.) While waiting, readers can collect cards, each of which contains evidence, and play the online game (www.the39clues.com ), for which Scholastic is offering over $100,000 in prizes. This ought to have as much appeal to parents as it does to kids—it’s Webkinz without the stuffed animals, and a rollicking good read. Ages 9–12.”

(2008, September 22). [Review of the book 39 clues: The maze of bones, by R. Riordan]. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-545-06039-4.

Library Uses:

I would like to see a yearlong creation of a father-son reading club that centers on this series. There are 10 books in the series so it would fit the time frame and allow for a couple of months leeway. I also think that the fact that the series has multiple authors would be beneficial in introducing young boys to a variety of writing that might inspire them to pick up more books by any given author.


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