Study Guide

The Holt Family in The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues)

By Rick Riordan

The Holt Family

Brawn, not Brains

Any family with members all named after the last names of U.S. presidents can't be that smart. The Holts are made up of dad Eisenhower, oldest son Hamilton, twin daughters Madison and Reagan, and mother Mary-Todd (named after Abraham Lincoln's wife). Then there's Arnold the pit bull. Who's he named after? Is that wishful thinking for Arnold Schwarzenegger to be president someday? Or maybe an homage to the classic cartoon Tiny Toon Adventures? Either way, he's the odd one out in this funky bunch.

Described as a bunch of G.I. Joes, the Holts are all muscle. Their solution to any problem: fight their way out. Subtlety isn't in their arsenal, which is made clear by the fact that they're the ones who burned down Grace's mansion all to get at Dan and Amy. Nice guys, these Holts.

So what's with the muscle-man complex? As usual, the Holts are compensating for shortcomings. Eisenhower has felt humiliated all his life for flunking out of West Point, failing the FBI entrance exam, and accidentally tasering himself as a security guard. His motivation for finding Grace's secret? The thought that "no one would ever laugh at him again" (13.37). Ugh, how tragic. Hearing this, we feel bad for laughing at him. Maybe he deserves a hug.