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Middleworld (Jaguar Stones, #1)
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Middleworld (Jaguar Stones #1)

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  988 Ratings  ·  169 Reviews
Harry Potter meets Indiana Jones meets Clash of the Titans! Fasten your seat belts for a heart-stopping ride of suspense and terror, set against a background of haunted temples, family secrets, ritual sacrifice, and adolescent angst, as a pampered, pizza-eating Boston teenager fights to survive in the teeming jungle and save the modern world from the Ancient Maya Lords of ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 5th 2007 by Smith & Sons, Imprint of Smith and Kraus Pub. Inc.
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(showing 1-30 of 2,314)
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Nov 29, 2011 Deanna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I know that children's books have to be simpler in scope and insight than adult books -- well, actually, I'm not at all sure about that. I do think we don't give children appropriate credit for their ability to recognize good characterizations, to react appropriately to the author's intended message, or to handle complex ideas.

After reading "The Chosen One," a very, very good but very depressing book, I needed something light and fluffy. So I hit the children's section at the library. In my exp
Feb 08, 2013 Spook rated it did not like it
Recommended to Spook by: Teacher
This book was assigned as part of my English curriculum in a 7th grade advanced class; nobody in the class had read it and in all honesty, it was more of a school experiment than anything. All the reading was done in class, accompanied with discussion, and soon enough, everyone had some complaint or other about the book.

Originally, the book seemed somewhat promising. Although, from the start, I found the writing style to be bland and juvenile, like something a sixth grade student would write for
Jun 28, 2010 Ari rated it really liked it
Mayan mythology is a complex topic to handle (says the non-Mayan expert) so I really admire the authors for creating this story and explaining aspects of Mayan culture in such a fun and pretty easy to understand way. A few times I did get lost. There's a lot going on, not just with all the Mayan culture references but also with other storylines. Sometimes I would forget who was who when they were talking about all the Mayan gods but that's not too big a deal. The older reader in me didn't always ...more
Apr 04, 2010 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy, 2010
Max is the only child of two archaeologists who specialize in the ancient Maya world. His parents have left for the summer on a dig in San Xavier and soon after Max is sent to join them. In San Xavier Max stays with his uncle but his parents have disappeared and no one has heard from them. He meets Lola a Mayan girl and sets out with her to find his parents and uncover the secrets of The Jaguar Stones.

Being the only child Max is spoiled, selfish and in his own words only looking out for number o
Feb 01, 2014 Dana rated it really liked it
This book started out pretty good, but I have a few qualms about it. Max is a severely disliked character. Pretty much by everyone. Including me. I loved all the Maya mythology and stuff. The imagery was great! I loved how the authors described the jungle and I loved the adventure. However, I did not love the procedural "walking through the jungle" scenes. I think the book could have been cut down a hundred pages or so. However, I do like this book. I will read the second one.
Peter Miller
I think that the middle world is a great book. It is about a young boy named Max Murphy who's parents are archeologist they have to go on a trip to San xavier and cancel the family trip. While max is at home playing video games he finds out that his babysitter is acting a little weird when she was feeding maya statues corn and talking to them. The next morning Max finds at a play Plane tickets to fly to San Xavier when his babysitter says that they say he is special and he has to go. when Max ge ...more
Apr 04, 2015 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“‘As I see it,’ said Max, ‘all that stands between humankind and the end of the world is two talking monkeys, a crazy archeologist covered in red paint, and a couple of kids with blowguns.’”

Will Max, the brat from Boston and Ix Sak Lol, known to her English speaking friends as Lola, and their small band of companion be able to thwart the plans of a modern day megalomaniac allied with ancient evil? Prepare yourself for a fast-paced, action-packed adventure shooting down the subterranean rapids t
Middleworld was kind of a strange book. It was entertaining-ish, I suppose. It did not lack action or adventure. Max and Lola were a nicely paired couple of characters. The scenes were vivid. I stayed with the story to the end, so I can't say that I hated it, but I didn't particularly like it either.

The biggest issue I had with Middleworld was the abrupt jogs in the plot. The story would go along a certain course just as nicely as you please, and then some event would happen that suddenly took t
Eva Ebert
One of those stars is just for having a fantasy book based on Maya legends.
The book itself is okay, but kind of uneven. The protagonist Max starts out selfish, lazy and kinda racist. This is obviously to give room for character development, but it means we have to slog through have the book with and unlikable main character.
The problem is that the action takes a long time to get going. The beginning is just Max travelling and whining about everything.
Then he finally gets railroaded into the plot
Aug 09, 2010 Rebecca rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 11, 2015 Colleen rated it liked it
Middleword is the first book in a middle school series. It focuses on the ancient Mayan world, and an American boy and a Mayan girl who must overcome evil forces to free the boy's parents. The larger arc of the series is good vs. evil. My primary issue with the book is that I didn't like any of the characters until I was halfway through the book. The story and character development picks up in the second half of the book, but it made for a LONG first half. The main character is supposed to be un ...more
Heather Petty
Apr 02, 2010 Heather Petty rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, mg
I was lucky enough to score an ARC of this book, which releases later this month.

It's a great middle grade book for any kid into action/adventure stories. But my personal favorite part was the way the authors explored Mayan mythology. I only wish there was more magic and mythology!
Jody Mabry
Let's face it, this is the adventure every boy dreams of having as a kid. I typically review books that I really enjoy, and occasionally but rare, those I dislike. But, it is even more rare for me to review books on the fence. This one had a lot of promise; Two parents who are archaeologists, Mayan folklore, magic, bad guys, and a kid few people like. The story itself I enjoyed. Although the writing (I'm so sorry Jon Voelkel) was a tad bland for what I expected.

So, for me Middleworld has a grea
Dec 07, 2015 Jon rated it it was amazing
Middle World is about a lazy gamer named Max who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. His parents go on a unexpected Mayan dig in San Xavier, an old Maya town. His parents go on the dig when the Mayan predicted the world would end. After his parents go missing, his house keeper tells him that he has to go to San Xavier to his Uncle Ted's house.In San Xavier Central America things aren't always what they seem to be there. San Xavier is entirely jungle and is the last thing a city boy would want. On hi ...more
May 25, 2015 Jess rated it it was amazing
This book I read for the Club Read book club at Changing Hands bookstore that I ran in April. I initially didn’t like this book,maybe because I was forced to read it, but it didn't grab me. I had to push on though for the club. By the middle of the book I was enthralled, I loved the story and its characters. The Mayan gods were so fun to meet and learn about (especially since minored in Religion in college). I think Max and Lola made a great team and my kids here at the store loved talking about ...more
Jan 24, 2014 Rebecca rated it liked it
I listened to this as an audiobook and I liked it. I might not have stuck with it had I been reading it, but since I was usually driving when listening, I could just tune out the less exciting parts. For me, the flaws were: some dull parts and some unrealistic plot and events, but it's Mayan Gods come to life, so if I can suspend belief for that, why not for gaps in plot? On the plus side, it was a fun book for me. Again, listening was probably more enjoyable than reading. The reader was great, ...more
Courtney Burns
No Young Adult book should take me almost 2 weeks to read. I found this one obnoxious (mostly Max) and predictable.
Marcus Kautzman
Nov 04, 2014 Marcus Kautzman rated it really liked it
Middleworld is a very well written and interesting book that was written by Jon Voelkel. The book is about a modern day fifteen year old boy that gets mixed up in a battle that mixes the ancient and modern Maya people and traditions. Max is an average boy with above average archaeologist parents who bite off a little more than they can chew regarding Maya beliefs better left untouched. He is sent to San Xavier to help them, but soon finds out that in the rain forest, not everything is as it seem ...more
Beau B
Mar 02, 2016 Beau B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-review
The book Middleworld by J and P Voelkel is one of the best books I have ever read. It starts out with a typical teenager, Max Murphy. He is a slacker and does not care about anything. Instead of going on a family trip to Italy, Max's parents, who are archaeologists, go on a dig in San Xavier and leave him behind. His parents get stuck in a storm and are nowhere to be found. Max's mysterious housekeeper, Zia, randomly has plain tickets to San Xavier and tells Max to go to San Xavier, so he does. ...more
A huge thanks to Jennifer Brod at Goodman Media for sending me a copy of this book for review!

I think that Middleworld: The Jaguar Stones is more of a Middle Grade book than Young Adult, but the premise sounded so interesting, and the main character was fourteen, so I decided to give it a shot anyways. I'm glad I did, because I think this is a book that a lot of younger readers might enjoy.

This first book in the Middleworld series is steeped in action, adventure, and Mayan culture. I felt like i
Jul 08, 2010 Mallory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review
This novel is an unforgettable adventure. We meet the main character, Max who is just looking for a vacation of video gaming, laying around the house, and visiting family in Europe. When his parents get an opprotunity they cannot refuse everything does not go as Max had hoped.

His family's strange and mysterious housekeeper, Zia, soon sends him off to stay with his uncle. His uncle lives where Max's parents went missing. As Max uncovers some of his Family's secrets, he soon is swept up in an adve
May 18, 2010 Heather rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs-i-own
This book was donated as an advanced reader copy from Egmont publishing, and I will say I love the cover. I think it pulls readers in with the rich detail and Mayan stone skulls in the water waves. Jaguar Stones book #1 reminded me a lot of Indiana Jones for middle grade readers.The first chapters revisit a lot of Mayan history and culture and the characters are mysterious and adventurous. I really enjoyed Max's short stay a the "banana factory" and discoveries in the secret room.

I had a hard ti
Jun 26, 2010 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, suspense
"MiddleWorld" is a fast-paced adventure (with some fantasy elements) for boys and girls ages 10 and up. Both kids and adults will find it very entertaining; however, the authors used enough "big words" that I wondered if tweens and teens really were their target audience. Sometimes even I didn't know what the words meant. In a few cases, I think it was actually a typo (there were a noticeable, though not huge, number of misspelled words in the book).

The characters were engaging and realistic, an
Jul 27, 2010 Lauren rated it did not like it
Shelves: own, didn-t-finish
Every once in a while I come upon a book I just can not get into nor finish for the life of me, and The Jaguar Stones: Middleworld was unfortunately one of those types of books

One of the main reasons for not enjoying this book was Max, the main character. I felt that he was just too whiny and bratty for my tastes, leaving me to have a hard time putting up and sympathizing with him and his situation, and don't even get me started about connecting to him or his situation. It was just hopeless, sad
Jan 29, 2011 Angie rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen, paranormal, magic
Kids will probably enjoy this one more than I did. It was was exciting in parts and the Mayan information was interesting. My issues were with the characters. Max was really a spoiled whiny brat through the majority of the book and then had a dramatic turn around. I don't know a lot of kids or teens who would act that horrible. I wonder what kinds of kids the authors know? Did they write the character like that based on what they think kids are like, based on someone they know or because they th ...more
I love the Indiana Jones movies with all the adventure mixed in with fact, history, legend and lore. When I saw the summary for Middleworld I was immediately intrigued because it reminded me of a story you might see Indiana in! I was also interested because it told about the Mayan culture - something I knew very little about. With fingers crossed that I would like the story, I began to read. I will be honest and say the preface really made me worried about the rest of the book. The preface takes ...more
Jun 12, 2010 Lizzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of anything involving ancient history, so when I was given the chance to read Middleworld, I couldn't say no. One of the most interesting things about this book was the plot. This wasn't your typical adventure story. The story is full of mystery and action, but it ties in a lot of interesting information about an amazing ancient culture. That was something that really set this story apart. It seemed to aim for an accurate depiction of an ancient culture, and the Maya still living i ...more
As I was just about to put this riveting adventure down for the night (I had about 100 pages left), I read a few more pages, and suddenly I kept on reading until I finished it. This book hits all the points a good, kid-friendly adventure story should hit, in my opinion. The characters were well developed, the plot was well structured and got me wondering and asking questions, and was suspenseful in the right parts. I really enjoyed how the main character, Max Murphy, totally changed by the e
Jan 03, 2014 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When my student approached me to share his favorite book, his first chapter book ever, I was very moved. This was not an offer I would approach lightly. As with any shared reading experience, I immediately found connections not just to the characters in the story but also to the person who recommended it to me. I am certain young readers, especially boys like my student, saw much of themselves in the main character Max who clashes with his parents and holds a very typical American-centered view ...more
Dec 15, 2014 Donna rated it liked it
For a middle grade book, this is certainly a long one! 400 pages plus a glossary of terms! Not that is wasn't compelling to read through but that's mighty long for YA let alone MG.

I found Max to be a rather unlikeable character for about 2/3rds of the book. He was whiny, bratty and self-centered and it was rather disturbing to watch him insult entire tribes with his tantrums. As with all good coming-of-age books, he does realize the err of his ways and starts doing things for the greater good as
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What's The Name o...: Kids find a Mayan world inside pyramid [s] 15 25 Jul 22, 2013 07:14PM  
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Other Books in the Series

Jaguar Stones (4 books)
  • The End of the World Club (Jaguar Stones, #2)
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