cover image Lost in Cyberspace

Lost in Cyberspace

Richard Peck, B. Steadman. Dial Books, $16.99 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1931-6

Amiable characters, fleet pacing and witty, in-the-know narration will keep even the non-bookish interested in this semi-fantastic adventure. Sixth-grader Josh, from an upscale Manhattan home, gets mixed up in his best friend Aaron's experiments with ``cellular reorganization'' (Aaron compares the process to faxing himself through cyberspace; Josh calls it time-travel). Before long Aaron has imported a few characters from 1923 into the present, where Josh must cope with them. To Peck's (The Last Safe Place on Earth) credit, the time travel mechanisms seem almost plausible; even better, they don't overpower the story. The author takes equal care in creating his characters, which include a string of silly English au pairs hired by Josh's newly single mom; Josh's 12-year-old sister (``I'm virtually thirteen and emotionally fourteen''); trendy teachers (the reading teacher calls his course Linear Decoding). Except for a pat and unnecessary twist at the end, when Josh's father shows up just in time for Peck to hint at a marital reconciliation, this clever caper doesn't miss a beat. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)