Catherine Jinks was born in Brisbane, Queensland. A full-time author since 1993 she has won numerous awards for her children's and young adult books. She lives in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales with her husband and daughter.
Jinks (the Evil Genius series) combines a plot filled with surreal twists and turns with a dash of Greek mythology in a novel that hits the mark on both the humor and horror fronts. Eleven-year-old Marcus has no interest in spending the summer at the beach with his mother, Holly, in the old trailer she buys-he'd rather play video games than deal with the obnoxious crowds. However, Marcus and his new friends, siblings Edison and Newt, discover that the trailer somehow has a secret cellar, which takes them to fantastic, too-good-to-be-true places that entice them to stay in the mysterious realm (for Edison, it's an amusement park; for Newt, a rocking nightclub). Although several classic tropes appear (from the various dangerous paradises to Edison and Newt's mad scientist-like father), Jinks keeps her material fresh, weaving in old myths and the occasional bit of social commentary; a sizable amount of the story is told from Holly's point of view, in addition to Marcus's. The result is a fast-paced adventure that's easily as exciting as one of Marcus's beloved video games. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 4-7-Marcus is devastated when his mom, Holly, ruins his summer plans by buying a junky old trailer and taking him to her favorite childhood vacation spot, Diamond Beach. When they arrive, Holly runs into Coco, one of her friends from the old days, all grown up and married to a semi-famous inventor, Sterling Huckstepp. He has two kids: Newt, a sassy teen girl, and a younger boy, Edison. Their trailer is full of crazy inventions, including a bumbling robot, Prot. Then the boys find that Marcus's trailer has a cellar. When Edison opens the cellar door, it leads to a fantastic amusement park, and he doesn't want to leave. Marcus realizes that the cellar creates the personal dream vacation of whoever opens the door, only the vacation never, ever ends. He enlists the help of Prot, Newt, and the adults, which takes the action up a notch as they all fight to escape the trap, rescue Holly's missing childhood crush, and defeat the evil that is trying to destroy them. Readers will be anxious to get lost in this world of dreams, nightmares, and deception. Jinks deftly mixes mild horror with humor to give younger readers a few shivers and make older readers chuckle. Each dream/nightmare world sheds dramatic, sometimes touching, insight into the character whose hopes and fears created it, and the nonstop action will make for exciting read-alouds and booktalks. Completely absorbing and totally fun.-Mandy Laferriere, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.