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The Winning Element

(The Specialists #3)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,189 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Give me a...boom?!

With two successful missions under her belt, GiGi is finally feeling comfortable and confident with the Specialists. But then she learns about Eduardo Villaneuva, a notorious chemical smuggler currently at large. Not only is he a present danger, but he was responsible for the deaths of GiGi's parents. The government has been trying to track him down for ye
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 17th 2008 by Speak
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  2,189 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Apr 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009, young-adult
The 3rd book in the Specialists series. I'd say this was better than the second - by far, since the plot actually made sense! - but still not great enough to completely blow me away. I do think it's a fun read that teens would enjoy, though.

In here, GiGi learns about this notorious chemical smuggler who was responsible for the deaths of her parents when she was young, and she immediately decides she has to go after him. Her organization gets the go-ahead from the government because t
Chanin Malley
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
I didnt like this book as much as the other series.I mean i enjoyed it yes but i really wish more happened i guess?
Gigi and David were cute the couple times they were together in the book.
It was nice finding out more about Beaker which is something I can always enjoy,as i love learning about the other characters while still staying in GiGi's perspective so it was nice.A reason why i didnt enjoy this book as much as the others I think is because it felt like Gigi, who was supposed to
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm definitely placing this series on a must reread list because they're such quick reads! I am a quick reader but, still - the plot flows nicely and the background stories on each of the characters on the team satisfies my curiousity.

I'm glad we get to see beakers side of the story now and how important this mission is to Gigi to be able to get some closure.

There isn't a cliffhanger but (view spoiler) ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Greenland, Shannon The Winning Element, 231 p. Speak (Penguin), 2008.

Gigi has won the right to lead a Specialist mission to tail the man who killed her parents Her partner on the mission, however, is Beaker, a genius chemist who also is a Goth with a MAJOR attitude problem. And their cover? Cheerleaders. Gigi isn't sure that she can juggle Beaker's 'tude along with the emotional rollercoaster of the mission: not just spying, but also trying to win a cheer competition! But this may be her only c
Douglas Williamson
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Our heroine is charge of this one, but can her goth teammate pull off a cheerleader impersonation? Not an easy sell...

This is the third book in a teen spies series featuring a group of smart and tough kids keeping the world safe. Each book works just fine as a standalone story, so feel free to read them in any order.

As a young adult novel, the plot is a little lighter than many I have read recently, but then that is not a bad thing either. The plot is fun and easy to read and while
Barbara Hackel
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the middle book of the series, and I felt it wasn't quite as good as the first two. Perhaps that is because the main character (Beaker) is harder to like as is the concept of Cheer competition as a cover story. I felt like when it got down to the climatic moment of disabling the chemical work in progress that it was glossed over with untrained participants next to chemical genius. The whole conclusion seemed rushed.

I still thought it was enjoyable-just not my favorite. Howeve
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh man! The cheerleading aspect of the storyline was Amazing! There were tons of moments that had my laughing. Especially putting those two characters together to accomplish this task. I loved getting to see GiGi and Beaker hash it out and the outcome that followed. There were still plenty of intense moments of what's going to happen next! PLUS it has a great twist at the end of the book that will leave you begging to read the next!
Heather Wamboldt
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this third book in The Specialists series. I find it very interesting when the author concentrates on another team member so we learn their story and also read how they complete the current mission. This particular mission places Gigi and Goth-girl Beaker in a cheerleader competition.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Sherri Geisler Locke
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
All of these are good clean reads aimed at teens. but even us Adults enjoy them. As always a touch of romance but nothing icky. A few good twists and turns. A hodge podge group of kids with various troubled backgrounds. they use their assorted skills for good as a part of the specialists.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Pat Eroh
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this clean spy book for teens! This is the 3rd book in the series and is as good as the first two! This is an amazingly intense thriller with lots of action and wonderful characters. This series is the best I have read of its kind!

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Maria Langella  Langella-Sorgie
I just love this entire spy series by Shannon Greenland. I am breezing through the entire series and really enjoying the fun adventure. Wonderful read for all ages. I received a free copy of the series from the author through Voracious Readers Only and I cannot wait to dive into the next one!
Amanda Cole
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very well written. Keeps your attention while you are waiting on the next surprise. Good read
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this one more than book 2 of the series. It had good character development as we got to know Beaker a lot better.
Meg GlitteryOtters
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
This one felt a little simplistic compared to the other two. I still liked it and it was a fast read, but I think I wanted a little more.
Jul 02, 2014 rated it liked it
The Winning Element introduces yet another member of GiGi's team. Well, more like focus on than introduces. But that doesn't matter. Beaker is an expert on chemistry. It is so fun to see the ties with the Leverage team. GiGi and Beaker is Hardison. Wirenut and Cat is Parker. TL and Jonathan is Nate Ford. Most of them are grifters (Sophie). Bruier and Jonathan is Eliot. See, it is all the Leverage team. I, however, prefer the books to the movie. They are a tad bit more descriptive. You see, somet ...more
Kathy * Bookworm Nation
This one just flew by; I couldn’t believe I had finished it so quickly. While I thought the story was enjoyable, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense. GiGi finds out her parents had been murdered and wants to hunt down the guy responsible. He happens to be staying at a hotel in Florida where a huge cheerleading conference is being held. Gigi and Beaker pose as cheerleaders to get close to the Bad Guy. When I read the description I guess I was expecting something else. I’m still not sure what the ...more
Mar 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Book 3 in The Specialists

With two successful missions behind her, GiGi is feeling confident and comfortable with the Specialists. Unfortunately, things are about to change. TL has informed her that a notorious chemical smuggler was personally responsible for the death of both her mother and father. The government has been trying to track him down for years, to no avail. Enter the Specialists, and this time, GiGi’s in charge of the mission. Only there’s a catch—the success of the miss
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for

Gigi learns how her parents really died and it's not an accident like she was told. She flips out and demands to be allowed to go after the uber dangerous man who's responsible. TL agrees on the condition that Gigi run the mission and that Beaker goes along with her.

Gigi researches and discovers that Eduardo will be in Florida in a few weeks time. Unfortunately, the only way to get close to him is to go undercover as cheerleaders, as t
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, series, 2017
I liked the relationship between Gigi and Beaker. They started off rocky from the first book and did not improve till this book and even then their relationship improve that much, just like dislike to each other and more into teammates that they are. I like that they have a real relationship with each other and became better teammates to each other and found common ground. Everything still comes together far too easily towards the plot of the story but overall not a bad one.
5/5 for nostalg
Jordan (The Heart of a Book Blogger)
This review and more can be found at The Heart of a Book Blogger.

The Specialists is a younger YA series. They’re quick, fun reads about a group of teenagers with special abilities who have been recruited to work for a government program. I borrowed the first from a friend in May, and then borrowed the next three from the library. I think a younger audience would enjoy these books a lot.
Jeff Crosby
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Terrorist bombs, vicious killers, and cheerleaders. Okay, the goofiness level ramps up in this third volume of the series, but its fun. As with the first two books, the story stays grounded in the real world, although some of the situations are comical, especially the perky cheerleaders. This time, computer nerd, GiGi, and Goth girl, Beaker, have to go undercover in Florida during a national cheerleader competition. I had a blast.
Sam Cristol
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sam by: Librarians
I read this because our school is having Shannon Greenland come to our school, and the librarians suggested that I read one of her books so that I can be one of the students to meet her. Overall, it was a fairly good book, and it wasn't too confusing to start in the middle of the series (the library had already checked out the first two books, much to my dismay). Overall, it was still very good, and if you're looking for a fast read about teenage spies, I'd go with this one!
Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love this book! :)
I love how things turned up. It reminded me that people sometimes hide there true selves to stop other people from hurting them. So we should remember one of the rules of life, "Don't judge a book by the cover." It also shows how a child love her parents. A twist in the ending that shocked me!
Nov 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Overall, this story was okay ... Not as good as the previous two, partly because it was quite confusing, not just because of the computer and science, but also because of what happened near the end. Will we ever know who that agent was? Maybe in the next book? But I wished that the author had told us about her in this book though.
Jan 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book was fascinating, out of the specialist saga this one was
filled with the most humour, as the most unexpected task is required
upon GiGi, The winning Element was the 1/2 of my favourite specialist books.
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Okay, half-sister? So finally Beaker found her dad, yay! But I kinda suspicious about that female agent. I'm guessing she was GiGi's mom. Well I hope so. This book pretty much a bit boring toward the middle but I'm quite happy afterward.
Karen Guthrie
May 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Young group of kids who become spies because of their unique talents. They don't get along in school becaus they are so brilliant. They are taken out of school and their talents are used to their fullest. A very neat perspective on utilizing people to their fullest.
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Gigi & David
Mar 09, 2009 added it
this third book of the series is perfect for all those girls out there who hate cheerleading. its filled with a bunch of tonque-in-cheek cracks at the "sport". yay!
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Things you should know about me: I write novels! Some have won awards. Others have been bestsellers. Under Shannon Greenland (my real name) you’ll find spies, adventure, and romantic suspense. Under S. E. Green (my pen) you’ll find dark and gritty fiction about serial killers, cults, secret societies that do bad things, and whatever else my twisted brain deems to dream up. I’m on Instagram, Twitte ...more

Other books in the series

The Specialists (5 books)
  • Model Spy (The Specialists, #1)
  • Down to the Wire (The Specialists, #2)
  • Native Tongue (The Specialists, #4)
  • Fight to the Finish (The Specialists, #5)