Boom!

Mark Haddon, Author
Mark Haddon, Author Random/Fickling 15.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-385-75187-2
Reviewed on: 04/26/2010
Release date: 05/01/2010
Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) has reworked his out-of-print 1992 novel Gridzbi Spudvetch! into a delightful crowd pleaser. Jimbo lives in a small flat with his hardworking mother, unemployed father, and disdainful older sister, Becky, who spends her time with a loser of a biker boyfriend. But Jimbo’s life takes a turn away from the dull when he and his adventurous friend Charlie plant walkie-talkies in the staff lounge at school. They overhear the teachers using an unintelligible language, entangling them in a farfetched and otherworldly mystery (“There was an adventure on its way, a nuclear-powered, one-hundred-ton adventure with reclining seats and a snack trolley”). Charlie is apparently abducted and Jimbo finds an unusually courageous ally in Becky, leading to a cross-country motorbike chase, the cracking of an alien code, intergalactic travel via a “Weff-Beam,” and a trip to Plonk, a planet both familiar and strange. Jimbo and Charlie are excellent foils for each other, and Haddon’s madcap escapade is fast-paced, pitch perfect, and utterly unbelievable—yet not a word will be doubted. Ages 10–up. (May)
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