cover image The Reinvention of Edison Thomas

The Reinvention of Edison Thomas

Jacqueline Houtman, . . Boyds Mills/Front Street, $17.95 (189pp) ISBN 978-1-59078-708-3

Houtman's debut presents the singular voice of Eddy, who sees the world from a different angle. He attends Drayton Middle School, but prefers disassembling old machines in his basement, gathering scientific facts (which he shares in excerpts from the “Random Access Memory of Edison Thomas”), practicing Morse code, and avoiding loud noises, crowds, and Mitch (a friend-turned-bully). Eddy sees a counselor, who aids him in developing his nearly nonexistent social skills—despite having a head for facts and data, he's incapable of understanding figures of speech—and managing his general anxiety (“He had made a huge logical error. As big as Uluru/Ayers Rock [346 meters high]. No, even bigger”). When the local crossing guard's position is eliminated, Eddy invents a device to make the intersection safe. With help from his classmate Justin, Eddy might just win first place at the regional science fair and make his first true friend. A perceptive look at a complicated mind, the novel is steeped in the world of science (binomial nomenclature appears throughout), and the quirky humor and authentic characters should have wide appeal. Ages 8–up. (Apr.)