Ian Bone, Author, Jobi Murphy, Illustrator , illus. by Jobi Murphy. Delacorte $14.95 (172p) ISBN 978-0-385-73210-9

In Bone's (Fat Boy Saves the World ) debut title in the Fast Forward series, select students at Hamish Wajda's high school have the ability to enter movies—and impact real life. Hamish, a lonely new student at Capra Video High, writes in his school essay, "Sometimes when I watch a good movie I feel like I belong there more than I belong in my own life." When a mysterious stranger hands him a "Vidz," he watches it and actually does find himself living in it—and learns that he was once the sword-wielding "people's champion." Hamish can yell "Cut!" to return to real life, but in his second meeting with the stranger, the former Capra student explains, "Everything that happens in that Vidz has a mirror in real life"; Bone sets up a parallel between the school's bursar and a man who plans to murder the king in the Vidz, and Hamish becomes determined to "save his school, and to save a kingdom." There are fun touches here: storyboard images pepper the novel, and sections of it unfold like a script. The author often humorously demonstrates Hamish's struggle to understand this new world of trolls, lair-goblins and the beautiful Crystal Maiden; the hero's memories sometimes appear like scenes in his mind. Unfortunately, the sketchily developed parallel about Capra's corrupt bursar detracts from the main thrust of the novel. Still, fans of cinema may be intrigued enough to tune in for Time Trap , due in February. Ages 8-12. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 01/10/2005
Release date: 11/01/2004
Library Binding - 179 pages - 978-0-385-90240-3
Paperback - 179 pages - 978-0-440-42033-0
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