Twins, Coke and Pepsi McDonald, have been recruited by secret government agency called the Genius Files. The purpose for the organization is to use the brightest children's flexible minds to solve the country's problems. But all Coke and Pep seem to do is try to outwit evil henchmen in bowler hats who keep trying to kill them. Coke and Pep's parents decide to take a trip across the country by RV to learn more about geography on the way to their aunt's wedding. As Coke and Pepsi cross the country they are given their first mission, and learn lots of interesting but unimportant facts about America.
This book is the first in the Genius Files series but it seems pretty obvious to me that the writer is no genius. This is one of the dumbest books I have read in a long time. It is clear that Gutman's main purpose in writing the book was to tell children about unusual places to see in the US. At the beginning there is an author's note that all the places described in the book are real. A lot of time is spent with the characters spouting random facts about the National Yo-yo Museum, or the World's Largest Ball of Twine in Kansas. After all the geography lessons, there is not much room for plot.
On top of that, the children's behavior is not at all realistic. After the first time the assassins try to kill them, they seem not at all traumatized but walk home worrying that their parents will be mad at them for being late. Then they seem to forget that happened, and calmly go to school the next day. The attempts on the kid's lives are completely lame and contrived. At one point the assassins throw them in a pit, hoping they will die of thirst, and are confident that their parents, who are in a car less than a mile away waiting for the kids to return, will not come to look for them in time. Another time they are in a Spam factory and the assassins try to throw them into an open vat if Spam. Of course, all food factories have meat in open vats with walkways over them. I could go on. The final scene where they meet the evil mastermind, and he monologues about why he is trying to kill them is the lamest of all.
The thing is, I read one of Gutman's "My Weird School" books and it was actually very clever. So I don't know what was up with this one. (293 p)