About the Book
Book: Saving Mount Rushmore
Author: Andrea Jo Rodgers
Genre: Middle grade fiction
Release Date: April 15, 2018
When John Jenkins’ parents ship him off to stay with his aunt, he’s certain it will be the worst summer ever—until he learns he’s been accepted into a top-secret school. St. Michael’s Academy is home to gifted students with extraordinary talents. Although John has no idea why he’s there, he’s assigned to Team Liberty, who assist authorities with solving low-level crimes. Their first mission: stop a trio of mischief-making teens from vandalizing Mount Rushmore. John battles feelings of inferiority as he and Team Liberty compete against Devlin Black and his cronies to track down clues and solve puzzles at Mount Rushmore. Along the way, John makes several key contributions, and his self-confidence grows. When he discovers he was admitted to the school due to a clerical error, he’s mortified. Now, he’s strictly an “observer” until the mission’s end. But when his teammates run into trouble, John must summon up the courage to save Mount Rushmore, and he learns an invaluable lesson: every person has special God-given gifts—including him.
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About the Author
Andrea Jo Rodgers is the author of award-winning Christian middle grade fiction as well as inspirational adult nonfiction novels. She holds a clinical doctorate in physical therapy and specializes in women’s health, orthopedics, and lymphedema. She has served her community as a volunteer emergency medical technician for over thirty years, responding to more than 8,200 first aid and fire calls. She lives on the east coast with her husband, two children, and their two rescue dogs, a Shih Tzu and a Dachshund.
More from Andrea
Can John embrace his God-given gifts in time to save Mount Rushmore?
Have you ever admired the extraordinary talent of another person? Perhaps you enjoyed listening to someone belt out a spellbinding rendition of your favorite song at church or a concert. Or, maybe you have dreamed that you’d gain the same athletic prowess of a professional sports player.
The amazing gifts of others can take many forms. These gifts may be linked with intelligence, such as an aptitude for math and engineering. They may reflect the beauty of the arts through singing, dancing, or painting. Certain individuals may dazzle the people around them with incredible athletic talents, from gold-medal Olympians to professional baseball, football, and basketball players.
Most people consider extraordinary talents to be God-given gifts. They allow people to stand out and shine among others. However, do each of us need a breathtaking talent to be considered special?
In Saving Mount Rushmore, John Jenkins, an awkward thirteen-year-old teenager, is unexpectedly chosen to attend Saint Michael the Archangel Academy. The top-secret school’s mission is to protect our nation by assisting authorities in solving crimes. Since the academy is for students with extraordinary abilities, John is puzzled as to why he’s been accepted. After all, he’s an average teen without any notable gifts.
While working with Team Liberty to save Mount Rushmore from Devlin Black and Team Mischief, John struggles to discover his special gifts. He’s mortified when he discovers that he’s been accepted to the academy due to a clerical error. He becomes strictly an “observer” until the mission’s end. But when his teammates run into trouble, John must summon up the courage to try to save Mount Rushmore. He learns that every person has special God-given gifts—including him.
I came up with the idea for Saving Mount Rushmore while in the airport, just before our plane departed for the famous landmark. I wrote feverishly the entire flight, and the first chapters were born. Saving Mount Rushmore is a middle grade novel which combines information about Mount Rushmore, adventure, and Christian values. My goal was to write an exciting, fun, educational book for middle grade readers that incorporates Christian values into the fabric of the story. John and his friends have an opportunity to save another national monument in the sequel, Saving the Statue of Liberty. I hope you celebrate our country’s heritage by joining John and Team Liberty in their adventures.
For God and Country.
Going into Saving Mount Rushmore, I had no idea what it was about aside from the obvious location and the fact that it was a middle-grade novel. While reading, I kept asking myself if I would have enjoyed it had I been the target age group, and I think that I would have due to the historical connection. The idea of going on secret spy missions provided plenty of fodder for the imagination when I was growing up, and reading this book made me feel, in some ways, like a kid again. Author Andrea Jo Rodgers does a nice job with the main cast of characters, starting with 13-year-old John Jenkins, who will be spending the summer at his great-aunt Martha’s Winding River Ranch. I felt the most kinship with Annabelle the bookworm, and also with the shyness of John himself.
This is a good book for illustrating how we can work together to achieve a common goal. St. Michael’s Archangel Academy is “a top-secret school that helps authorities fight crime” in the words of Aunt Martha, and each of the students has a special gift. Except for John, who does not know if he has a gift or what it might be. How the other kids in his assigned group, Team Liberty, respond with complete acceptance and support is heartwarming and encouraging in a society that far too often teems with bullies. Similarly, Shaniqua and her stressful home life evoke her fellow members’ empathy. So refreshing! To keep things from becoming too idealistic, there are villains, too, in the form of other kids who do their best to foil Team Liberty’s mission. As a bit of an aside, I would like to comment on the seemingly negligent adults, with the exception of Aunt Martha, because it does irk me. John’s parents are too busy to take time for him on a normal day, and they do not seem to prioritize their kids, while Mr. Jorgenson seems rather indifferent and callous.
One of the things that drew me to this book in the first place is that it is written from a Christian worldview, as evidenced in the series title. God is mentioned a few times throughout the book, and on one occasion John offers a prayer for a meal he shares with his aunt and the ranch foreman, but faith does not seem to be as integral a topic as I thought that it would. I had been hoping for more, but this is book one of the series, so maybe the second book contains more specifically Christian content.
If you’re looking for a realistic, true-to-life middle-grade story, this book isn’t it. But if you can suspend your disbelief and enjoy a tale that mixes an authentic American landmark with a dash of fantasy and the adventure of being a kid, then Saving Mount Rushmore is worth checking out.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥
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To celebrate her tour, Andrea is giving away the grand prize package of a signed copy of Saving Mount Rushmore: Saint Michael the Archangel Academy, Mission 1 as well as a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.