cover image Time Bomb

Time Bomb

Nigel Hinton, . . Tricycle, $15.95 (284pp) ISBN 978-1-58246-186-1

British novelist Hinton's thought-provoking story will envelop readers in its convincing portrait of a boy growing up in post-WWII London. Told from 11-year-old Andy's perspective, the story opens with an attention-grabbing hook: "I've never told this story to anyone because when I was twelve I swore an oath in blood that I would never tell it. But the friends I swore it with are dead now, so it's time to break that oath and tell the truth." Andy then relates his adventures with his three friends (Eddie, Manny and Bob) after they find a seemingly inoperative bomb buried at their favorite play site, "the Bomb Building" (where the Germans bombed a house in 1941), and pledge to keep its existence a secret. At first, the weapon acts as a symbol of their boyhood rage as they fantasize about using it to punish the adults who let them down (a wrenching example is Andy's father, whom the boy caught in a compromising position with his secretary). But later, when Cap—an older, peculiar and anti-Semitic guy who befriends Andy and Eddie—is killed by the bomb's explosion, the boys have more than their urge for revenge on their consciences. Hinton's multilayered and shocking story will spark conversations about prejudice, deception, truth and responsibility. Readers will sympathize with heart-on-his-sleeve Andy as he struggles to do what's right. Ages 10-13. (Oct.)