I had never heard of Gabby Duran before, but after just a few chapters it became obvious why Disney Channel is optioning this book series for potential development. It instantly calls to mind some of the early DCOMs, particularly the Zenon films and Stepsister from Planet Weird, but also harkens back to some of the zaniness of shows like Phil of the Future. Even though Gabby Duran: Multiple Mayhem is the third book in the series, I had no trouble buying right in and understanding everything that is going on.
Gabby Duran is your typical teenage babysitter... except she babysits for an organization called A.L.I.E.N. (Association Linking Intergalactics and Earthings as Neighbors) and her clients are real aliens hiding out on earth! Not only do her assignments lead to big challenges like caring for babies with super powers, but she also has to step outside of her comfort zone by doing things like saving the planet from total destruction. No big deal, right?
Wrong! In Gabby Duran: Multiple Mayhem, she is babysitting a Tridecalleon toddler. Things go awry when the baby begins to multiply and when her science wiz friend comes over to help, she discovers that Tridecalleons start life as one and multiply to thirteen! As if that isn't bad enough, Gabby is protecting a doomsday device that looks like a compact mirror and the Hautties (a self absorbed race hiding out on earth as our most attractive celebrities) are desperate to get it back from her. Oh, and one more thing. Her mom's new boyfriend could be a Hauttie or worse, working for the enemy organization! Either way, he seems like bad news for Gabby's family. Add to that a jealous school rival desperate to get close to these evil Haut celebrities and Gabby pretty much has the entire universe stacked against her.
Writers Elise Allen and Daryl Conners have a lot of fun with this subject. I found myself laughing multiple times and there is something truly special about Gabby Duran's adventures. Allen is no stranger to Disney Channel, with a writing credit on The Lion Guard and having also co-written several books with former Disney Channel stars Hilary Duff (Elixer) and Bella Thorne (Autumn Falls). While I could easily see Gabby Duran becoming a TV series with comedy stylings similar to Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I would actually prefer to see it become a series of DCOMs. In terms of who to cast, however, I'll let the current generation of Disney Channel tweens be the judges of that.
Those looking to get into the series can feel confident that they can start with any of the three books and not feel like they missed so much they can't enjoy it. However, if you want to start at the beginning, then Gabby's out-of-this-world adventures began in Gabby Duran and the Unsittables and then continued in Gabby Duran: Troll Control.
Recommended for ages 8-12, I would say if your kids are avid readers they will love Gabby Duran: Multiple Mayhem! It's clear that Gabby Duran is going to be bigger than a super nova and parents will enjoy sharing these stories with their kids if their not old enough to read it by themselves yet. I'm looking forward to Gabby's next adventures, whether they're in another fabulous book from Disney Hyperion, on my TV courtesy of Disney Channel, or streamed into my consciousness by one of Gabby's super alien friends.