Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com
From an outsider's perspective, Thayne Davidson Miller, III has an amazing life. He travels the world with his family, he doesn't have to go to school (his parents homeschool him), he's a genius (he received his doctorate at age 11), and he is incredibly rich. From the inside, it's not so great. When his parents go to foreign countries, Thayne spends most of the time in an empty office or hotel room, he's never known anyone his own age, his closest friend is Jacques the butler (or "gentleman's gentleman"), and lots of money leads to death threats, which makes for unbelievably overprotective parents. All Thayne wants is to be a "normal" kid.
On the way to Thayne's thirteenth birthday party, his first ever actual party with a carnival and other kids, organized by Jacques, Thayne's parents have a horrible accident. Thayne's party is brought to an abrupt halt with the news that his parents are dead. Thayne is now the richest orphan in the world. A world he knows very little about. With Jacques' help, Thayne masterminds a plan. He's going to go to school. A real school with regular kids - well, almost.
The school that is chosen is GODA (Global Optimum Development Academy) on the island of Demeverde. GODA is a school for specially gifted children, and Demeverde is where his parents were able to finally conceive and give birth to Thayne. Still conscious of the unexplained and unsolved death of his parents, Thayne registers under an alias. Only Jacques, Unius (founder of GODA and its affiliates), Chose (a teacher at GODA and a trusted ally of Unius), and Thayne himself know the true identity of Arnie Carver.
Now, for the first time ever Thayne (Arnie) is on his own and out in the world. And what an adventure it will be! In a school like no other, with new friends, technology beyond imagination, and a mysterious illness threatening his new home, Arnie Carver has certainly got his work cut out for him!
This is a great story! I was prepared to find Thayne/Arnie to be an irritating rich boy, but he's one of the sweetest, most genuine characters I've ever been introduced to. Shy at times, almost hesitant about his innate amount of knowledge, a born leader and a nice kid, I like him a lot! And I would love to hang around GODA for awhile. They have amazing things like SlipDiscs (to travel on), and cheds (chair beds), and Gladaasses (possibly the coolest version of a laptop ever). And classes in mental strength, physical strength, and sensory strength, as well as the regular high school classes, all taught from an international perspective! And a game with coconuts that you could actually play, though I think you might have to let me watch.
Where is this school? And can I please go?
I don't, by any means, offer this book as a replacement for Harry Potter, but if you need something else to move on to, I don't think you'll be remotely sorry that you entered the world of Arnie Carver. I can't wait to see where he takes us next.