Tuesday, June 15, 2010

BOOM! by Mark Haddon

If you are looking for a middle grade, sci-fi story, look no farther.  BOOM! by Mark Haddon should interest even reluctant readers who think summer is for anything other than reading.

Jim and Charlie are in for the adventure of their lives.  It all starts when they decide to "bug" the teacher's lounge with a set of walkie-talkies.  Instead of hearing teacher gossip and talk of what terrible kids they are, they hear two of their teachers speaking in some odd, mixed-up language.  Since these two teachers are the least likely among the school's employees to be goofing off or playing some silly game, the two boys decide an investigation is required.

As Jim and Charlie attempt to learn more about the situation, they discover the two teachers, as well as several other individuals, wear strange metal bracelets.  When they touch these bracelets, they behave strangely.  The boys also witness an eerie blue light in the eyes of those who wear the bracelets. 

Before they are able to find out anything substantial, except that a location in Scotland might be part of the mystery, Charlie mysteriously disappears.  Because of the strange bracelets and the eerie blue eyes, Jim hesitates to involve any adults in the search for Charlie.  Instead, he turns to his older sister Becky.  She may make a habit of treating him like a stupid younger brother, but for some reason he feels she can be trusted.

Together, Jim and Becky hop on a stolen motorbike and head to Loch Coruisk in a remote area of Scotland.  When they come in contact with a "helpful", bracelet wearing gentleman, they know they are headed in the right direction.  What follows is a fantastic adventure filled with tremendous booms, blue pillars of light, monkey-spider creatures, floating balls, and much, much more.

BOOM! by Mark Haddon is a mix of mystery and sci-fi action that pits good against evil.  Readers will cheer for Jim and Charlie as they use plain old kid power to outwit supposedly super-intelligent life forms from outer space.  BOOM! is a fun, fast read that will keep kids reading even during the summer.

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