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Kudo Kids: The Mystery of the Masked Medalist

Part of Kudo Kids

Illustrated by Yaoyao Ma Van As
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Paperback
$8.99 US
5.19"W x 7.69"H x 0.76"D  
On sale Apr 06, 2021 | 288 Pages | 9780593113752
Grades 3-7
Reading Level: Lexile 740L | Fountas & Pinnell T
From two-time Olympic bronze medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani comes a fun-filled, fast-paced middle-grade mystery set at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Andy and Mika are going to Tokyo!

The Kudo Kids have never been to Japan before, so they can't believe they get to attend the Summer Olympics there. The siblings plan to eat tons of delicious Japanese food, watch every event they can, and win a super-popular new game called OlympiFan.

Developed by a mysterious former medalist, OlympiFan brings players together from all over the world to search Tokyo for virtual medals and clues to the creator's identity. Andy loves puzzles, and he's determined to crack this one, especially since the winning team will get to be beta testers for the Masked Medalist's future games!

Mika wants to find as many clues as she can, but she also has a secret goal of her own--one that could get her into big trouble. But when someone sabotages the game, the Kudo Kids have an even bigger mystery to solve than the Masked Medalist's identity. If they want to capture the gold, Mika and Andy have to figure out who's trying to stop their team before someone beats them to the grand prize!
Michelle Schusterman is the author of I Heart Band, a Scholastic Reading Club pick, The Kat Sinclair Files, and Olive and the Backstage Ghost. She's also an instructor at Writopia Lab, a nonprofit organization that offers creative-writing workshops for children and teens from all backgrounds. Find out more at michelleschusterman.com. View titles by Michelle Schusterman

CHAPTER ONE

ANDY

Bzzt-bzzt.

Andy Kudo froze with a forkful of mashed potatoes halfway to his mouth. Glancing around the dinner table, he shifted slightly in his seat to get a better look at the phone resting in his lap. It was a text from Devon Perez, his best friend from school, but the screen went dark before Andy could read it.

Mika grabbed a chicken leg from the platter in the middle of the table. “I wonder what we’ll be eating for dinner tomorrow in Tokyo,” she said, waving the leg enthusiastically. “Probably not fried chicken, right, Dad?”

Slowly, Andy unlocked his phone with one hand. Near his feet, a pair of dark brown eyes gazed at him pleadingly. “Sorry, Lily,” Andy whispered. “No people food.” The white Maltese gave him a sweet doggie grin, pink tongue lolling.

“Why not?” Dad was saying, helping himself to more broccoli. “We might have karaage!”

“Kara-ah-geh,” Mika repeated. “Is that Japanese for fried chicken?”

“Yup,” Dad replied. “It’s really popular in Japan. It’s a specific type of deep-frying method—not exactly like tempura, but similar.”

“Mmm, like the sweet potato tempura at that restaurant Aunt Kei loves,” Mika said dreamily. “Those are sooo good . . .”

“I’m sure we can find sweet potato tempura in Tokyo,” Dad said. “Veggie tempura, fish tempura . . .”

“Shrimp tempura,” Mom chimed in as she reached for the salad dressing. “Squid, octopus—”

“Octopus!” Mika’s brown eyes widened. “For real?”

“For real. And it’s delicious. In fact . . .” Dad sat up straighter, and Andy smiled to himself as he opened his messages. A travel writer who specialized in food, Dad could talk about it for hours, if no one stopped him. But before he could launch into a lengthy speech about the deliciousness of octopus, Mom cleared her throat.

“Andy?”

Andy jumped at the sound of his name, and the phone slid off his lap, hitting the carpet with a muffled thump.

“What was that?” Mika ducked down to look under the table just as Andy leaned over. Her gaze landed on the phone. “Oooh . . . Ha! Busted.”

Lily gave Andy’s face a sympathetic kiss. Po, the family’s other white Maltese, sat next to Mika’s chair, eyes fixed on Mika’s hands. Andy was pretty sure his sister had slipped the puppy a piece of chicken. He raised an eyebrow, and she responded with a slightly mischievous grin. Andy was a year older than Mika, but his eleven-year-old sister was pretty good at doing sneaky stuff like that and getting away with it. Andy, on the other hand . . .

“Is someone breaking the no-phones-at-the-dinner-table rule?” Dad asked in a tone of mock horror.

Sighing, Andy grabbed his phone and straightened up. “Sorry,” he said, handing it to Mom. “There’s supposed to be an OlympiFan update before the opening ceremony starts. We’re finally going to find out what the secret grand prize is!”

Mom slid his phone into the pocket of her jeans before reaching for her fork. “I thought you said that little game starts tomorrow?”

“Midnight in Tokyo,” Andy replied immediately. “Eight o’clock tomorrow morning in LA!”

“And it’s not little, Mom,” Mika added. “There are like thousands of players registered!”

“All over the world,” Andy continued. “The game supports a ton of languages. English, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Italian, French—”

“Okay, I get the picture,” Mom said, pushing her wire-rimmed glasses up her nose. “You guys are really excited about this game.”

Andy was more than excited. He’d downloaded the OlympiFan app the previous week, and every time he opened it, all he saw were the Rules of Play and the Gallery, which wasn’t open yet. No one had any idea what the secret grand prize might be, and Andy couldn’t wait to find out.

“I hope you two are still planning on watching the events, though,” Dad added.

“Uh, yeah.” Mika bounced excitedly in her chair, and Andy nodded enthusiastically in agreement. He couldn’t believe that they were going to Tokyo for more than two weeks—and during the Olympic Games! Mom was the editor in chief of Compete, a popular sports website, and between her job and Dad’s work as a freelance travel writer, the Kudo kids had gone on some pretty awesome vacations.

But this trip was special. The Kudos were Japanese American, and Andy couldn’t wait to visit the country of his heritage for the first time. Dad had been on several press trips to Tokyo, and he’d helped Andy and Mika come up with a long list of sights they wanted to see and food they wanted to try. Andy had downloaded a language app to help him learn some useful phrases in Japanese. In the excitement of exploring the city, he’d heard so much about and attending the Summer Olympics, Andy had thought this vacation couldn’t get any cooler.

And then the OlympiFan game happened.

Andy loved puzzles. A lot. And he was really, really good at them. He had dozens of puzzle apps on his phone: anagram solvers, logic grids, word games, and cryptic puzzles. His favorite was S-Cape, an escape-room game that had a seemingly endless number of rooms. Andy was currently on level sixty-one, which was the captain’s cabin on a sinking ship. So far, he hadn’t been able to solve the puzzles fast enough to escape the cabin before water came gushing in through the broken windows. He was getting closer, though, and Andy loved a good challenge.

But thanks to OlympiFan, Andy was about to take a break from all other games. Even S-Cape.

“What time is it?” he asked suddenly, glancing down at his lap even though his phone was gone. “Is the opening ceremony about to start? Can we turn the TV on?”

“We just started eating!” Mom took a big bite of chicken, as if to prove her point.

“Yeah, but we might miss the beginning!”

“Technically, we missed the whole thing.” Dad blinked twice, his expression innocent, a sure sign he was making a Dad joke. “It started at about six this morning.”

“Ha ha.” Andy rolled his eyes. “You know what I mean.”

“We’ll miss the broadcast,” Mika added. “Andy’s right, it’s about to start! Can we please have the TV on while we eat, just this once?”

“I don’t think—” Dad began, but he stopped when Mika tilted her head back and drew a deep breath.

“PLEEEE-EEEE-EEEEE-EEEEZZZ!”

Lily’s head jerked up in alarm, and Po skittered out from under the table and darted into the kitchen. Andy couldn’t help but laugh. Dad had dubbed it Mika’s “pitiful sheep bleating”—a startlingly loud sound that she only resorted to in the most desperate circumstances. It usually worked, too. Sure enough, Andy saw the corners of Dad’s lips twitching.

“Fine, you can watch. But you have to finish your broccoli!”

Mom tried to hide her smile as Mika flew across the living room and grabbed the remote. A few seconds later, a shot of the Olympic Stadium filled the screen. Andy gazed at the enormous oval stadium set against the Tokyo skyline. In a little more than a day, he would actually be there.

Mika returned to her seat, and Mom took the remote from her.

“We’ve still got a few minutes before the ceremony actually starts,” Mom said, muting the TV. “Tell me more about this game. How do you play?”

“It’s an augmented reality game,” Andy told her. “Remember Pokémon GO? Or that zombie game Aunt Kei tried to get you to play last summer?”

“Don’t remind me,” Mom said with a big shudder. “We were at the grocery store, and I held my phone up and saw a zombie in the produce section. I screamed so loudly, this poor lady dropped a gigantic jar of pickles and it shattered all over the floor. I deleted that app from my phone right there.”

Andy snickered, and so did Mika. Aunt Kei had told them that story at least a dozen times, but it never got any less funny.

“No zombies in this game,” Mika said as Andy took another bite of chicken. “There are three virtual medals— Bronze, Silver, and Gold—and a bunch of clues, all hidden in different locations in Tokyo. Tomorrow the app will tell us where to go to find clues for the Bronze medal. The clues and the medals are all worth points you can use to download video interviews with Olympic athletes. There’s also a secret grand prize that’s super mysterious.”

“No one even knows who designed the game,” Andy added eagerly around a mouthful of food. “They’re called—”

“Andy, no talking with your mouth full!” Mom gave him a stern look, and Andy chewed faster.

“Sorry,” he said once he’d swallowed. “I’m just so excited—okay, so they’re called the Masked Medalist.” Andy took another giant bite of chicken despite Mom’s protests. “They’re a former Olympic athlete, and they have an Instagram account. But that’s all anyone knows about them. Okay, sorry! I’m done.” He took a long, loud slurp of water to wash down the chicken, and Mika giggled.

“All the posts they share on their Instagram account are photos and videos from past Olympic Games,” Mika said. “It’s so cool!”

“Players are supposed to form teams,” Andy continued. “I think seven is the most people you can have on a team. Devon and Riley are on a team with us!”

Mika beamed and nodded. “Riley’s so excited! She’s been going to the library like every day this summer researching stuff about Tokyo.”

“Riley goes to the library every day anyway,” Andy pointed out. Riley Jenkins was Mika’s best friend. Andy had never met anyone who read as much as she did. One time when he’d been walking Lily and Po, he’d spotted Riley across the street with her beagle, Turtle. Riley had Turtle’s leash in one hand and a book in the other, and she was reading while she walked. Andy did that with his phone sometimes, but he’d never seen anyone walk around with her nose buried in a book. He figured it was a good thing Turtle was such a slow walker—after all, that’s how he’d gotten his name.

Dad looked surprised. “Wait—how can Devon and Riley play if they’re not in Tokyo?”

“Because the game has both AR and VR modes. Augmented reality and virtual reality,” Andy added when his parents frowned in confusion. “Anyone can play in VR mode, no matter where they are.”

“Ah, I get it.” Dad paused. “Nope, I don’t get it at all.”

“Clues will be all around Tokyo,” Mika explained. “Playing in AR mode in Tokyo means you can actually see them through your phone.”

“And playing in VR mode is kind of like using a street view of Google Maps,” Andy finished. “Virtual Tokyo.”

Mom took a sip of iced tea and shook her head. “Remember when Game Boys first came out, Tom?”

“I thought Tetris was actual sorcery,” Dad said, his voice completely deadpan.

“Literal magic,” Mom agreed.

Mika’s eyes twinkled. “What about microwaves? Did you think those were magic boxes?”

“How about light bulbs?” Andy adopted an innocent expression. “You guys were born before those were invented, right?”

“And forks,” Mika added, tapping hers against her plate.

“And books.”

“And pencils.”

“And . . .” Andy glanced down, his gaze landing on his cell phone. “Telephones!”

Mika giggled, and Dad let out a big sigh. “Ah, yes. When I was your age, we had nothing to read or write with. We couldn’t even text our friends all through dinner!”

“It’s true,” Mom said, smiling. “I’m not sure how we ever communicated with anyone!” 

Andy rolled his eyes, and Mika slumped down in her chair, laughing. Dad opened his mouth to say something else, but then his gaze fell on the TV. “Is it starting?”

All four of them turned to the TV. The interior of the stadium was completely dark except for a few beams of light, which shone down from the ceiling like spotlights crisscrossing over the audience. The camera suddenly switched back to two commentators, and Mom glanced at her watch.

“We’ve still got a few minutes.”

Andy shoveled down the rest of his potatoes, then stood and picked up his plate. “Um dun,” he announced around the mouthful of food, and Mika shot to her feet, too.

“Thanks for dinner!” she said.

Mom eyed her plate. “Mika, broccoli? That was the deal. And, Andy, what did I just say about talking with food in your mouth?”

Andy made a show of swallowing as Mika crammed three spears of broccoli into her mouth.

“Mika!” Dad protested, but she was already marching into the kitchen, Andy right behind her. They rinsed their dishes, loaded them in the dishwasher, and then hurried into the living room. Mika grabbed her phone off the coffee table and flopped back onto the sofa.

Andy turned to face the dining room table, where Mom and Dad were stacking up the rest of the dishes. “Mom?”

“Yes, oh . . . right.” Mom pulled his phone from her pocket and dropped it into his outstretched palm. “Enjoy your magic box.”

Grinning, Andy hurried back to the sofa. Unlocking his phone, he opened his messages.

 

DP: DID U SEE??

DP: SECRET GRAND PRIZE

DP: :-o

 

Andy felt his pulse quicken. He opened OlympiFan and read the Masked Medalist’s post. As he read, his mouth fell open. He read it again as a commercial for a sportswear company replaced the commentators on TV.

 . . .use #TeamWorld to enter. Enspire is a proud sponsor of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Mika’s eyes were flicking back and forth between her phone and the TV. Andy could see an Instagram post on Mika’s screen.

“Did they post about it there, too?” he asked eagerly. Mika let out a surprised squeak and hid the screen from him.

“What? I wasn’t . . . What are you talking about?”

“The Masked Medalist’s update!”

“Oh! Yeah. No. Um.” Mika blinked. “Wait. There’s an update?”

“Yes!” Andy read from his screen, his voice rising in his excitement. “‘The team to correctly guess the Masked Medalist’s identity will get to be beta testers for my next games!’”

He held his phone out and watched as his sister read the rest of the update, her expression rapidly changing from confused to ecstatic.

“Beta testers for new games?!” she yelped. “And working with an actual Olympian?! Wow. That would be so amazing!”

“You mean that will be so amazing,” Andy corrected her with a grin. Opening his messages, he started typing a response to Devon. “We’re def gonna win this thing.”

“What a fun ride throughout this book! It not only got me excited about the Olympics, but the OlympiFan game was full of twists and intrigue. A contemporary story that will connect with young readers everywhere.” —Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic Gold Medalist, Children’s Book Author 

The Mystery of the Masked Medalist would make any kid passionate about the Olympics. Maia and Alex create a modern adventure that takes you throughout Japan.” —Lindsey Vonn, Olympic Gold Medalist Alpine Ski Racer

"It’s truly remarkable that sister and brother Maia and Alex Shibutani, who just happen to be very well known for their excellence in skating, have taken that same champion level approach to creating Kudo Kids. Everyone loves a great mystery, and Kudo Kids delivers a fun and exciting adventure aimed for young readers, that everyone can enjoy.  I have a strong feeling this could be the beginning of something BIG!" —Scott Hamilton, Olympic Gold Medalist

“Maia and Alex Shibutani have written a delightful game of a book full of surprises and heart. I loved experiencing Tokyo through the eyes of the Kudo kids, and I can’t wait to see where they travel next.” —Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Caraval series

"A gold medal debut for the ShibSibs! This fun, fast-paced mystery with two fierce new detectives--the Kudo Kids--will keep young readers turning the pages until the twisty end!" —Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Great Shelby Holmes series
 
"An exhilarating page-turning romp through Tokyo for fans of puzzle games and mysteries! This book made me hungry for Japanese food and for more in this series." —Debbi Michiko Florence, author of the Jasmine Toguchi series and Keep It Together, Keiko Carter

"The Mystery of the Masked Medalist is a fun, exciting adventure all across Tokyo. The Kudo Kids are lovable and daring, proving to be highly relatable heroes that kids will root for." —Lyla Lee, author of Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business and I'll Be the One

“With Kudo Kids, Maia and Alex Shibutani have created an exciting world that explores mystery, the travails of competition, and the loving support of family. The story toggles between traditional storytelling and digital adventure for the young reader, resulting in a thriller that reads like a video game. Kudo Kids is not only a fun way to get your favorite child interested in books, but an entertaining read for all generations." —Bobby Hundreds, author of This Is Not a T-shirt

About

From two-time Olympic bronze medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani comes a fun-filled, fast-paced middle-grade mystery set at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Andy and Mika are going to Tokyo!

The Kudo Kids have never been to Japan before, so they can't believe they get to attend the Summer Olympics there. The siblings plan to eat tons of delicious Japanese food, watch every event they can, and win a super-popular new game called OlympiFan.

Developed by a mysterious former medalist, OlympiFan brings players together from all over the world to search Tokyo for virtual medals and clues to the creator's identity. Andy loves puzzles, and he's determined to crack this one, especially since the winning team will get to be beta testers for the Masked Medalist's future games!

Mika wants to find as many clues as she can, but she also has a secret goal of her own--one that could get her into big trouble. But when someone sabotages the game, the Kudo Kids have an even bigger mystery to solve than the Masked Medalist's identity. If they want to capture the gold, Mika and Andy have to figure out who's trying to stop their team before someone beats them to the grand prize!

Author

Michelle Schusterman is the author of I Heart Band, a Scholastic Reading Club pick, The Kat Sinclair Files, and Olive and the Backstage Ghost. She's also an instructor at Writopia Lab, a nonprofit organization that offers creative-writing workshops for children and teens from all backgrounds. Find out more at michelleschusterman.com. View titles by Michelle Schusterman

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

ANDY

Bzzt-bzzt.

Andy Kudo froze with a forkful of mashed potatoes halfway to his mouth. Glancing around the dinner table, he shifted slightly in his seat to get a better look at the phone resting in his lap. It was a text from Devon Perez, his best friend from school, but the screen went dark before Andy could read it.

Mika grabbed a chicken leg from the platter in the middle of the table. “I wonder what we’ll be eating for dinner tomorrow in Tokyo,” she said, waving the leg enthusiastically. “Probably not fried chicken, right, Dad?”

Slowly, Andy unlocked his phone with one hand. Near his feet, a pair of dark brown eyes gazed at him pleadingly. “Sorry, Lily,” Andy whispered. “No people food.” The white Maltese gave him a sweet doggie grin, pink tongue lolling.

“Why not?” Dad was saying, helping himself to more broccoli. “We might have karaage!”

“Kara-ah-geh,” Mika repeated. “Is that Japanese for fried chicken?”

“Yup,” Dad replied. “It’s really popular in Japan. It’s a specific type of deep-frying method—not exactly like tempura, but similar.”

“Mmm, like the sweet potato tempura at that restaurant Aunt Kei loves,” Mika said dreamily. “Those are sooo good . . .”

“I’m sure we can find sweet potato tempura in Tokyo,” Dad said. “Veggie tempura, fish tempura . . .”

“Shrimp tempura,” Mom chimed in as she reached for the salad dressing. “Squid, octopus—”

“Octopus!” Mika’s brown eyes widened. “For real?”

“For real. And it’s delicious. In fact . . .” Dad sat up straighter, and Andy smiled to himself as he opened his messages. A travel writer who specialized in food, Dad could talk about it for hours, if no one stopped him. But before he could launch into a lengthy speech about the deliciousness of octopus, Mom cleared her throat.

“Andy?”

Andy jumped at the sound of his name, and the phone slid off his lap, hitting the carpet with a muffled thump.

“What was that?” Mika ducked down to look under the table just as Andy leaned over. Her gaze landed on the phone. “Oooh . . . Ha! Busted.”

Lily gave Andy’s face a sympathetic kiss. Po, the family’s other white Maltese, sat next to Mika’s chair, eyes fixed on Mika’s hands. Andy was pretty sure his sister had slipped the puppy a piece of chicken. He raised an eyebrow, and she responded with a slightly mischievous grin. Andy was a year older than Mika, but his eleven-year-old sister was pretty good at doing sneaky stuff like that and getting away with it. Andy, on the other hand . . .

“Is someone breaking the no-phones-at-the-dinner-table rule?” Dad asked in a tone of mock horror.

Sighing, Andy grabbed his phone and straightened up. “Sorry,” he said, handing it to Mom. “There’s supposed to be an OlympiFan update before the opening ceremony starts. We’re finally going to find out what the secret grand prize is!”

Mom slid his phone into the pocket of her jeans before reaching for her fork. “I thought you said that little game starts tomorrow?”

“Midnight in Tokyo,” Andy replied immediately. “Eight o’clock tomorrow morning in LA!”

“And it’s not little, Mom,” Mika added. “There are like thousands of players registered!”

“All over the world,” Andy continued. “The game supports a ton of languages. English, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Italian, French—”

“Okay, I get the picture,” Mom said, pushing her wire-rimmed glasses up her nose. “You guys are really excited about this game.”

Andy was more than excited. He’d downloaded the OlympiFan app the previous week, and every time he opened it, all he saw were the Rules of Play and the Gallery, which wasn’t open yet. No one had any idea what the secret grand prize might be, and Andy couldn’t wait to find out.

“I hope you two are still planning on watching the events, though,” Dad added.

“Uh, yeah.” Mika bounced excitedly in her chair, and Andy nodded enthusiastically in agreement. He couldn’t believe that they were going to Tokyo for more than two weeks—and during the Olympic Games! Mom was the editor in chief of Compete, a popular sports website, and between her job and Dad’s work as a freelance travel writer, the Kudo kids had gone on some pretty awesome vacations.

But this trip was special. The Kudos were Japanese American, and Andy couldn’t wait to visit the country of his heritage for the first time. Dad had been on several press trips to Tokyo, and he’d helped Andy and Mika come up with a long list of sights they wanted to see and food they wanted to try. Andy had downloaded a language app to help him learn some useful phrases in Japanese. In the excitement of exploring the city, he’d heard so much about and attending the Summer Olympics, Andy had thought this vacation couldn’t get any cooler.

And then the OlympiFan game happened.

Andy loved puzzles. A lot. And he was really, really good at them. He had dozens of puzzle apps on his phone: anagram solvers, logic grids, word games, and cryptic puzzles. His favorite was S-Cape, an escape-room game that had a seemingly endless number of rooms. Andy was currently on level sixty-one, which was the captain’s cabin on a sinking ship. So far, he hadn’t been able to solve the puzzles fast enough to escape the cabin before water came gushing in through the broken windows. He was getting closer, though, and Andy loved a good challenge.

But thanks to OlympiFan, Andy was about to take a break from all other games. Even S-Cape.

“What time is it?” he asked suddenly, glancing down at his lap even though his phone was gone. “Is the opening ceremony about to start? Can we turn the TV on?”

“We just started eating!” Mom took a big bite of chicken, as if to prove her point.

“Yeah, but we might miss the beginning!”

“Technically, we missed the whole thing.” Dad blinked twice, his expression innocent, a sure sign he was making a Dad joke. “It started at about six this morning.”

“Ha ha.” Andy rolled his eyes. “You know what I mean.”

“We’ll miss the broadcast,” Mika added. “Andy’s right, it’s about to start! Can we please have the TV on while we eat, just this once?”

“I don’t think—” Dad began, but he stopped when Mika tilted her head back and drew a deep breath.

“PLEEEE-EEEE-EEEEE-EEEEZZZ!”

Lily’s head jerked up in alarm, and Po skittered out from under the table and darted into the kitchen. Andy couldn’t help but laugh. Dad had dubbed it Mika’s “pitiful sheep bleating”—a startlingly loud sound that she only resorted to in the most desperate circumstances. It usually worked, too. Sure enough, Andy saw the corners of Dad’s lips twitching.

“Fine, you can watch. But you have to finish your broccoli!”

Mom tried to hide her smile as Mika flew across the living room and grabbed the remote. A few seconds later, a shot of the Olympic Stadium filled the screen. Andy gazed at the enormous oval stadium set against the Tokyo skyline. In a little more than a day, he would actually be there.

Mika returned to her seat, and Mom took the remote from her.

“We’ve still got a few minutes before the ceremony actually starts,” Mom said, muting the TV. “Tell me more about this game. How do you play?”

“It’s an augmented reality game,” Andy told her. “Remember Pokémon GO? Or that zombie game Aunt Kei tried to get you to play last summer?”

“Don’t remind me,” Mom said with a big shudder. “We were at the grocery store, and I held my phone up and saw a zombie in the produce section. I screamed so loudly, this poor lady dropped a gigantic jar of pickles and it shattered all over the floor. I deleted that app from my phone right there.”

Andy snickered, and so did Mika. Aunt Kei had told them that story at least a dozen times, but it never got any less funny.

“No zombies in this game,” Mika said as Andy took another bite of chicken. “There are three virtual medals— Bronze, Silver, and Gold—and a bunch of clues, all hidden in different locations in Tokyo. Tomorrow the app will tell us where to go to find clues for the Bronze medal. The clues and the medals are all worth points you can use to download video interviews with Olympic athletes. There’s also a secret grand prize that’s super mysterious.”

“No one even knows who designed the game,” Andy added eagerly around a mouthful of food. “They’re called—”

“Andy, no talking with your mouth full!” Mom gave him a stern look, and Andy chewed faster.

“Sorry,” he said once he’d swallowed. “I’m just so excited—okay, so they’re called the Masked Medalist.” Andy took another giant bite of chicken despite Mom’s protests. “They’re a former Olympic athlete, and they have an Instagram account. But that’s all anyone knows about them. Okay, sorry! I’m done.” He took a long, loud slurp of water to wash down the chicken, and Mika giggled.

“All the posts they share on their Instagram account are photos and videos from past Olympic Games,” Mika said. “It’s so cool!”

“Players are supposed to form teams,” Andy continued. “I think seven is the most people you can have on a team. Devon and Riley are on a team with us!”

Mika beamed and nodded. “Riley’s so excited! She’s been going to the library like every day this summer researching stuff about Tokyo.”

“Riley goes to the library every day anyway,” Andy pointed out. Riley Jenkins was Mika’s best friend. Andy had never met anyone who read as much as she did. One time when he’d been walking Lily and Po, he’d spotted Riley across the street with her beagle, Turtle. Riley had Turtle’s leash in one hand and a book in the other, and she was reading while she walked. Andy did that with his phone sometimes, but he’d never seen anyone walk around with her nose buried in a book. He figured it was a good thing Turtle was such a slow walker—after all, that’s how he’d gotten his name.

Dad looked surprised. “Wait—how can Devon and Riley play if they’re not in Tokyo?”

“Because the game has both AR and VR modes. Augmented reality and virtual reality,” Andy added when his parents frowned in confusion. “Anyone can play in VR mode, no matter where they are.”

“Ah, I get it.” Dad paused. “Nope, I don’t get it at all.”

“Clues will be all around Tokyo,” Mika explained. “Playing in AR mode in Tokyo means you can actually see them through your phone.”

“And playing in VR mode is kind of like using a street view of Google Maps,” Andy finished. “Virtual Tokyo.”

Mom took a sip of iced tea and shook her head. “Remember when Game Boys first came out, Tom?”

“I thought Tetris was actual sorcery,” Dad said, his voice completely deadpan.

“Literal magic,” Mom agreed.

Mika’s eyes twinkled. “What about microwaves? Did you think those were magic boxes?”

“How about light bulbs?” Andy adopted an innocent expression. “You guys were born before those were invented, right?”

“And forks,” Mika added, tapping hers against her plate.

“And books.”

“And pencils.”

“And . . .” Andy glanced down, his gaze landing on his cell phone. “Telephones!”

Mika giggled, and Dad let out a big sigh. “Ah, yes. When I was your age, we had nothing to read or write with. We couldn’t even text our friends all through dinner!”

“It’s true,” Mom said, smiling. “I’m not sure how we ever communicated with anyone!” 

Andy rolled his eyes, and Mika slumped down in her chair, laughing. Dad opened his mouth to say something else, but then his gaze fell on the TV. “Is it starting?”

All four of them turned to the TV. The interior of the stadium was completely dark except for a few beams of light, which shone down from the ceiling like spotlights crisscrossing over the audience. The camera suddenly switched back to two commentators, and Mom glanced at her watch.

“We’ve still got a few minutes.”

Andy shoveled down the rest of his potatoes, then stood and picked up his plate. “Um dun,” he announced around the mouthful of food, and Mika shot to her feet, too.

“Thanks for dinner!” she said.

Mom eyed her plate. “Mika, broccoli? That was the deal. And, Andy, what did I just say about talking with food in your mouth?”

Andy made a show of swallowing as Mika crammed three spears of broccoli into her mouth.

“Mika!” Dad protested, but she was already marching into the kitchen, Andy right behind her. They rinsed their dishes, loaded them in the dishwasher, and then hurried into the living room. Mika grabbed her phone off the coffee table and flopped back onto the sofa.

Andy turned to face the dining room table, where Mom and Dad were stacking up the rest of the dishes. “Mom?”

“Yes, oh . . . right.” Mom pulled his phone from her pocket and dropped it into his outstretched palm. “Enjoy your magic box.”

Grinning, Andy hurried back to the sofa. Unlocking his phone, he opened his messages.

 

DP: DID U SEE??

DP: SECRET GRAND PRIZE

DP: :-o

 

Andy felt his pulse quicken. He opened OlympiFan and read the Masked Medalist’s post. As he read, his mouth fell open. He read it again as a commercial for a sportswear company replaced the commentators on TV.

 . . .use #TeamWorld to enter. Enspire is a proud sponsor of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Mika’s eyes were flicking back and forth between her phone and the TV. Andy could see an Instagram post on Mika’s screen.

“Did they post about it there, too?” he asked eagerly. Mika let out a surprised squeak and hid the screen from him.

“What? I wasn’t . . . What are you talking about?”

“The Masked Medalist’s update!”

“Oh! Yeah. No. Um.” Mika blinked. “Wait. There’s an update?”

“Yes!” Andy read from his screen, his voice rising in his excitement. “‘The team to correctly guess the Masked Medalist’s identity will get to be beta testers for my next games!’”

He held his phone out and watched as his sister read the rest of the update, her expression rapidly changing from confused to ecstatic.

“Beta testers for new games?!” she yelped. “And working with an actual Olympian?! Wow. That would be so amazing!”

“You mean that will be so amazing,” Andy corrected her with a grin. Opening his messages, he started typing a response to Devon. “We’re def gonna win this thing.”

Praise

“What a fun ride throughout this book! It not only got me excited about the Olympics, but the OlympiFan game was full of twists and intrigue. A contemporary story that will connect with young readers everywhere.” —Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic Gold Medalist, Children’s Book Author 

The Mystery of the Masked Medalist would make any kid passionate about the Olympics. Maia and Alex create a modern adventure that takes you throughout Japan.” —Lindsey Vonn, Olympic Gold Medalist Alpine Ski Racer

"It’s truly remarkable that sister and brother Maia and Alex Shibutani, who just happen to be very well known for their excellence in skating, have taken that same champion level approach to creating Kudo Kids. Everyone loves a great mystery, and Kudo Kids delivers a fun and exciting adventure aimed for young readers, that everyone can enjoy.  I have a strong feeling this could be the beginning of something BIG!" —Scott Hamilton, Olympic Gold Medalist

“Maia and Alex Shibutani have written a delightful game of a book full of surprises and heart. I loved experiencing Tokyo through the eyes of the Kudo kids, and I can’t wait to see where they travel next.” —Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Caraval series

"A gold medal debut for the ShibSibs! This fun, fast-paced mystery with two fierce new detectives--the Kudo Kids--will keep young readers turning the pages until the twisty end!" —Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Great Shelby Holmes series
 
"An exhilarating page-turning romp through Tokyo for fans of puzzle games and mysteries! This book made me hungry for Japanese food and for more in this series." —Debbi Michiko Florence, author of the Jasmine Toguchi series and Keep It Together, Keiko Carter

"The Mystery of the Masked Medalist is a fun, exciting adventure all across Tokyo. The Kudo Kids are lovable and daring, proving to be highly relatable heroes that kids will root for." —Lyla Lee, author of Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business and I'll Be the One

“With Kudo Kids, Maia and Alex Shibutani have created an exciting world that explores mystery, the travails of competition, and the loving support of family. The story toggles between traditional storytelling and digital adventure for the young reader, resulting in a thriller that reads like a video game. Kudo Kids is not only a fun way to get your favorite child interested in books, but an entertaining read for all generations." —Bobby Hundreds, author of This Is Not a T-shirt

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