Banneker Bones and the Giant Robot Bees, by Robert Kent (CreateSpace, 2014)
Ellicott is a smart kid, and he's just been accepted to a program for brilliant ones at Latimer University. The only problem--he has to go live with his cousin, Banneker Bones, who is even more brilliant. Banneker is the world famous inventor of robots, fabulously wealthy, and extraordinarily full of himself...and he doesn't want a room-mate one single bit. Just his robots, who are convenient tools with which to tease and torment Ellicott.
But then gigantic robot bees attack, and carry off Reggie, Elicott's best friend from his new school and gifted comic book illustrator. Banneker is determined to save Reggie, and add to his fame. Ellicott is determined to help as best he can, for the sake of friendship. And the two boys are off on a mad robot filled adventure, in which the robots prove to be the least of their problems....
It's a good one for readers who like smart kids using really cool technology to save the day! Banneker is a borderline sociopath and an utter snot, but the utterness of his snot-ness is so great as to be amusing. Ellicott, on the other hand, is a nice kid, easy to relate too. And the technology (jet packs and holographic games, as well as the giant robot bees) will delight the young technophile.
It's slowish to get going, but once the bees attack, it's a fun page turner that should appeal lots to any kid fascinated by robots! Do not be off put by the fact that this is a self-published book--I was never once bothered by editing infelicities.
disclaimer: review copy received from the author, aka Middle Grade Ninja.
(Banneker's mother is African American, so I'm adding this one to my list of diverse spec. fic.)