In short: After Jack's superspy parents go missing, he hides in their secret lair for years...learning how to be the perfect spy. Now he has to face a terrible challenge: in order to find his parents, he has to to learn how to act like a normal kid.
Jack Dervish's parents disappeared when he was four years old. He was smart enough to hide out in his parents' secret lair under the house, even after new people moved in upstairs. Living off his parents' savings and by using the Internet, Jack survived more or less alone.
But on his twelfth birthday, Jack finally realizes that a) he cannot accept that his parents are dead and b) they aren't going to be able to come back on their own. He decides to go on a quest to rescue them; however, he has no idea where they could be, or what they were involved in when they left (well, he was four).
He decides that the only way to search for his parents is to go into the outside world. And that means...pretending to be a normal kid. After eight years in his parents' secret hideout with nobody to talk to (except for a few people over the Internet), it won't be easy.
Despite making a ton of mistakes (including deciding that "Rasputin" is a good name for a kid), Jack faces down bullies, fools the school into thinking he's from a foreign country, and makes a couple of friends that like him despite his really weird way of doing things.
However, Isobel is one of the worst friends that he could have made; her father works for the Homeland Security Office...and is out to capture Jack and find the truth of where he really lives, and the source of all his gadgets. The thing is, Mr. Spencer knows something about Jack's parents...why else would he have a picture of them?
I had a lot of fun reading this. Jack does not fit in, and that's what fifth grade was all about for me: being smart and not fitting in. If you enjoyed The Mysterious Benedict Society or the Artemis Fowl books, I highly recommend this book. I thought the beginning was a little silly--a four year old living on his own? Really?--but hey, why not? This looks like the start of a fun series. Lots of gadgets, traps, and sneaking about.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)