Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Capture the Flag” as Want to Read:
Capture the Flag
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Capture the Flag (Silver Jaguar Society Mysteries #1)

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  3,094 Ratings  ·  438 Reviews
A stolen flag, a secret society, and three complete strangers . . .

Anna, José, and Henry have never met, but they have more in common than they realize. Snowed in together at a chaotic Washington, DC, airport, they encounter a mysterious tattooed man, a flamboyant politician, and a rambunctious poodle named for an ancient king. Even stranger, news stations everywhere have
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 1st 2013 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published June 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Capture the Flag, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 14, 2012 Kate added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Working on the sequel right now!
Jun 27, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First there was The Lightning Thief, a fantastic adventure set in modern day, with a hero that today’s kids can relate to, but ties in the myths of ancient Greece – suddenly every 6th grader I knew was reading the Percy Jackson books and volumes of ancient myths. Rick Riordan will forever be on my list of super-geniuses, simply because he figured out how to get kids to read and read and read and read.

He did it again with the Kane Chronicles series, which ties in the myths of ancient Egypt, and o
Michael Fitzgerald
Weak writing drags this down. The basic story premise is quite good, and the situations are mostly believable, but I kept getting the feeling that this was the literary effort of a slightly above-average student abetted by a pushover editor who never questioned or challenged. At no point did I find a single sentence or paragraph of real worth. It also seems to have the markings of (yet another) crank-em-out series (yup, a trilogy - I just checked). I do wish those authors could create a single s ...more
Picked up this book because it's set in DC -- my home town. Stolen flag was an interesting premise, if a bit National Treasure-y. I figured out the mystery a quarter of the way in, but I'm also an adult. Not too bad a read. But the heavy-handed discussion of immigration issues (even if I agreed with the author/characters) and meaning of phrases turned me off. Read like a book where the author was trying to teach kids something by saying "this is right, this is wrong" instead of showing them the ...more
Jillian Heise
Review originally posted on Heise Reads & Recommends

I absolutely adore Kate Messner's writing. I really enjoyed EYE OF THE STORM and CAPTURE THE FLAG was no disappointment either. One of the things I like most about Kate Messner's books is that she writes smart, honest, real characters. In this book they read, they write, one is a genius at video games, but they all have many layers to their characters without getting overly emotionally involved as would happen in more young adult books. Her
Michelle King
June 15, 2013
This adventure/realistic fiction really boils down to this:
*a slimy senator vying for the White House
*an unexpected blizzard that completely halts any airport movement for 2 days
*completely oblivious parents
*a random dog allowed to roam free in an airport
*several secret and dangerous rides on the baggage belts
*3 kids coincidentally connected by a secret society
*the original American flag - missing

The kids put themselves in serious danger in the hope of finding the lost American fla
Jun 02, 2012 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
This fast-paced middle-grade mystery/adventure will keep kids on their toes! When the original flag that inspired "The Star Spangled Banner" is stolen from the Smithsonian after a gala event, the country is in shock. Though they are instructed otherwise, a group of kids, stuck in an airport due to a blizzard delay, take it upon themselves to solve the case. The story, with all of its twists and turns (and battles with baggage) will keep readers engaged and cheering for Anna, Henry, Jose, and Sin ...more
Oct 20, 2014 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
I wasn't a fan of Marty McGuire from last year's Sequoyah list so I was unsure of whether I would enjoy another by Messner. However, I found Capture the Flag to be a well-developed plot with strong tweenage characters involved in a mission to rescue an American icon- the flag that inspired the national anthem. The inclusion of the Silver Jaguar Society adds a spy-like element of adventure to the storyline. An enjoyable read! I look forward to other stories about this trio of kids.
Monica Edinger
Jul 01, 2012 Monica Edinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loads of fun! A kid-centric National Treasure-ish (which is amusingly referenced at one point) thriller perfect for middle grade kids. Slipping in shampoo, zipping along baggage conveyor belts, all those folk stuck at the snowed-in airport, the politician with Tootsie Rolls in his cowboy hat, and so many other amusing images made me think more than once it should be a movie so I sure hope someone has already snapped up the option.
The Styling Librarian
Capture the Flag by Kate Messner – Fantastic mystery that had terrific character development, great plot/pacing, good clues and setting, and overall one of my favorite books the year. Looking forward to promoting with my students!
Josh Newhouse
Jul 03, 2012 Josh Newhouse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining if incredibly telegraphed and at times contrived. Kids will enjoy and that's what matters!
Suzanne Brown
Mar 23, 2017 Suzanne Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in tandem with my 10-year old son. He loved it, and was totally sucked in by the action-packed plot line. The mystery had some good twists and turns for him. It was the experience I had hoped for him, but I kind of wish there was a bit more of the history element added. It seemed like there was good potential to weave more of it into the story. He gave 5 stars, I gave 3.
When I picked up Kate Messner’s middle grade adventure Capture the Flag at the Scholastic booth at Book Expo America last month, I knew it would be the perfect book to review on July 4th, the United States’ Independence Day. I mean, a book about the famous flag that inspired the national anthem is… as patriotic as it gets.

Anna, José and Henry are three of the hundreds of people stuck at a Washington, DC airport during a snowstorm when the world finds out that an extremely old and historic flag
Feb 08, 2017 Bethany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three kids take it upon themselves to search for the recently stolen Star Spangled Banner (the real one) in a snowed-in Dulles Airport. It's dangerous, politically charged, and, frankly, not a good idea. But the kids' creativity, doggedness, and inattentive caregivers make the story zip along. The location in the nation's capital provides a background for some discussion of political battlegrounds like immigration and campaign trickery. The additional plot device of a secret society is a little ...more
What a fun story, especially since it's set right in my backyard and we got to see the Star-Spangled Banner flag that's at the center of the mystery when the Smithsonian Museum of American History reopened a couple of years ago after renovations. Anna, Jose, and Henry are all at a museum gala with their parents or guardians, celebrating the unveiling of the restored flag, on the evening that it is stolen. They don't actually meet until the next day, when they are all snowed in at the airport tog ...more
Meg Allison
First-rate caper that had me at the first line, "They never should have unlocked the door." Kate Messner is proving herself to not only be a writer of extraordinary talent, but a writer who has an uncanny knack of knowing exactly what children want to read. Snowed in at the Washington-Dulles airport, Anna and her new friends set to unravel the mystery of the missing flag that inspired "The Star-Spangled Banner." The action underneath the concourse is particularly riveting as is Anna's wit and in ...more
Oct 18, 2014 Diane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a favor to my 9 year old son. He is trying to read as many Mark Twain nominees as possible right now. I do not know how this one got on the short list, and it will blow my mind if it actually wins. He and I read the 39 Clues series together and it is a MILLION times better than this book. Very little is actually written about history other than just a little at the beginning about the flag. After that, it is all a bunch of cliches and kids happening to stumble upon clues. I w ...more
June Morgan
Jun 06, 2012 June Morgan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As always, Kate absolutely did not disappoint with this middle grade fiction book at all. FLAG kept me excited, engaged, and wanting to what was going to happen next. I truly hated to put it down.

Three curious children, who are not related, but are related by historical families, attend a special presentation of the repaired American flag (The Stars and Stripes). All three end up sitting on a bench observing the festivities.

They discover, when a giant snowstorm grounds them at the airport, tha
May 01, 2014 Drucilla rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m
Actual rating: 1.5 stars. This is a middle grade novel. Its characters are 12ish. I assumed the target audience would be about that age. Why then does the author insist on talking down to her readers? It's like Messner thought she was writing for elementary school kids, but I read books in elementary school that were more sophisticated than this. For example, there's a secret society that protects important relics called the Silver Jaguar Society. It would have been cool to have the kids piece t ...more
Jan 24, 2013 Georgene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exciting middle grade mystery story with the added bonus of being set in Washington, DC. Three young children, Anna, Jose and Henry find themselves stuck together at the airport during a snowstorm and there is a mystery to solve. The famous Star-Spangled Banner has been stolen from the museum where the children had been the night before, and it may be among the baggage in the airport. Exciting chase scenes in the baggage handling area of the airport was the best part. A good recommendation fo ...more
Teresa Garrett
I love a book that sneaks in some facts wrapped in a good story. The facts in this book are about "The Star Spangled Banner" from Fort McHenry which inspired the national anthem and has gone missing as the story opens. Three middle graders, Anna, Jose, and Henry, who are snowed in at the airport discover they have the same family secret and believe it is up to them to find the missing flag. Throw in a cast of characters including a shady senator and and wild poodle giving the story plenty of twi ...more
Cathy Blackler
Aug 07, 2012 Cathy Blackler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Messner has written a well-developed mystery on par with National Treasure. A stolen flag, a secret society and its nemesis, a city walloped by a blizzard grounding all flights, & three middle-schoolers, each with their own unique skill set, come together for a true page turner. Readers will appreciate the literary layer that includes Harry Potter & a myriad of quotes, the video game layer, the detailed descriptions of airport baggage systems, & the resolve of Anna, Henry & Jose.
Aug 21, 2012 Martha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Capture the Flag by Kate Maessner is full of action,suspense and engaging characters. The fact that the setting is the Smithsonian Museum of American History will motivate students to visit this museum while in Washington DC. I can't wait for the sequels and I'm sure the kids will feel the same way. This would make a great read aloud at the start of the school year. It has curriculum connection with the 4th and 5th grade Social Studies units too. Recommended for 3rd-5th.
Solid middle grade mystery. A snowstorm shuts down a DC airport, leaving seventh graders Anna, Jose and Henry stranded when news breaks that the flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner has been stolen – and the thieves may be somewhere in the airport. Capture the Flag offers the kind of intrigue (secret society!) and adventure (forbidden parts of the airport) that make a mg mystery sparkle. Great set up for future cases.
I can't wait to read Capture the Flag to my 6th graders this fall! It has so many elements that will make for an engaging read aloud: humor, several uniquely relatable characters, mystery, word play, and a presidential election. There's a lot of National Treasure and a little Dan Brown. But just as important as all that? It's well-written, worthy of serving as a touchstone text in Writing Workshop, as well. Thank you, Kate Messner!
Jul 31, 2012 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think students will really enjoy this! A great intermediate level mystery fiction book. I was intrigued by the secret society that protects historical artifacts. The 3 main characters were all very smart & likeable kids. A bonus are some of the historical facts included naturally in the storyline. Please keep these characters going with a sequel, Kate Messner!
Fun light read. Having the mystery set in the airport was fun. I enjoyed the characters. I wish that there had been more sleuthing. It was unbelievable how much those kids where able to run around a crowded airport without parents :-) I'm starting the 2nd book to see what happens next. My 10 thought it was ok
Mar 27, 2014 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a bit of a crush on Kate Messner. This is a fun book with a nice history-mystery, kid sleuths, politics, and a secret society! You can feel Messner leaning to the left politically, which was fine with me but might annoy some. Nothing heavy-handed. I look forward to other books in the series.
Feb 17, 2013 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I used this book as a read aloud with my fourth graders and we all loved it! It was great that I did not have to "read around" any parts of this book. When I finished it, we had to start a wait list for kids to borrow it during their Read to Self time. We can't wait for Hide and Seek!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Fake Mustache
  • King of the Mound: My Summer with Satchel Paige
  • Double Dog Dare
  • Small Medium at Large
  • When Life Gives You O.J.
  • The Island of Thieves (Tom Trelawney #1)
  • Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School
  • The Shadow Collector's Apprentice
  • Guy-Write: What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know
  • The Center of Everything
  • Under the Egg
  • The Key to Extraordinary
  • Malcolm at Midnight
  • Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure
  • Hold Fast
  • Glory Be
  • The Girl from Felony Bay
  • Elvis and the Underdogs
Kate Messner is an award-winning author, TED 2012 speaker, and former middle school English teacher. Her books for kids include THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z.,SUGAR AND ICE, and EYE OF THE STORM (Walker/Bloomsbury Dec. 2010) the MARTY MCGUIRE series (Scholastic), SEA MONSTER'S FIRST DAY, and OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW (Chronicle, Books). Kate also wrote SPITFIRE and CHAMPLAIN AND THE SILENT ONE, bot ...more
More about Kate Messner...

Other Books in the Series

Silver Jaguar Society Mysteries (3 books)
  • Hide and Seek (Silver Jaguar Society Mysteries #2)
  • Manhunt (Silver Jaguar Society Mysteries #3)

Share This Book

“basement security suite,” 0 likes
More quotes…