In Max Elliott Anderson’s When the Lights Go Out, the focus of the story is on Peyton Aldrich, who is twelve years old. His father works for the Army Rangers as a colonel, and Peyton’s dream is to one day become a Ranger like his father. Peyton also has a younger sister, Kelley, and the family lives in a deserted town -- perfect for secret military experiments. The Aldrich family is always moving because of Peyton’s father’s career in the military. His current assignment is secret, so he cannot say too much about it to his family.
One day while walking down the street, Peyton meets Dave and Gill. They start talking and in days they become good friends. They realize that they all want to become Rangers, so they decide to pretend they are in training. They meet each day at 9:00 a.m. and push themselves to train rigorously – running, climbing, crawling, wrestling, and jumping.
Dave’s father used to be in the Army, but now he runs a garage where he repairs people’s cars. His employees are an odd group of misfits. One day, as the trio of boys is at Dave’s home for training, they accidentally overhear the employees of the garage talking about a secret mission. They boys hide and listen to as much of the conversation as they can hear without being discovered. They learn that this ragtag group of employees plans to meet at 10:00 that night at a deserted gas station to make plans for stealing a new weapon being developed locally by Army engineers. The boys know that for anyone to believe them they will need proof, so they start taking extensive notes about their investigation and photos of the men and their meeting places.
In one spying mission, the boys learn that the thieves plan to douse the lights in part of the city so that they can sneak in and steal the secret weapon. The boys decide to rig a reserve generator to kick in if the power goes out. They then wait to see if their trap will work.
This novel is targeted for young readers who like adventure stories similar to The Hardy Boys, but with Christian values underscored. The vocabulary is not advanced and the plot is always easy to follow. Themes of courage, patriotism, and moral strength make this a book that will set high standards for young readers. – Jasmin Gomez, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Peyton Aldrich's father is an Army colonel, who specializes in Army intelligence. His work is always top secret, which means he can't even discuss it with his own son. Nevertheless, Peyton idolized his father, who believes that after what happened on 9/11, somebody had to help keep the country safe.
Now, Peyton, along with his family, find themselves stationed at a new army base, in the middle of nowhere. After his arrival, Peyton finds two friends, Gill and Dave. Together they decide to train like Rangers, and search for some kind of mission to accomplish on their own. Little did they know that a mission was about to put the boys right in the cross-hairs of a dangerous terrorist plot, when a secret weapon would be delivered to the base on its way across the country.
Will the terrorists find out who is trying to expose their evil plan? Will the boys be able to stop them? And what will happen to Peyton's father when the general finds out what the boys did? When the Lights Go Out is a story for kids, and their parents, so we never forget 9/11.