Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Liam is a twelve-year-old who looks like a he’s thirty.  He’s the tallest in his class and even has a wispy beard growing in.  So Liam is able to do things that other kids his age can’t.  He rides carnival rides that they are all too short for.  He is mistaken for a teacher on his first day of school.  He pretends that a girl in his class, Florida, is his daughter.  And he almost test drives a Porsche before his father stops him.   Thanks to these mistakes, Liam lives in a place between childhood and adulthood.  So when Liam is asked to bring his daughter on the trip of a lifetime to the best theme park in the world, Liam easily decides to do it.  He needs to pose as one of the world’s best dads to get on the spaceship, and it just may take a child to be the best father in the bunch.

I love Boyce’s books because you never know what journey you are about to start out on.  The book will seem to be one thing and delightfully morph into something else along the way.  Readers will start out thinking this is a book about space travel, but it is so much more.  It is an exploration of what age means, a novel about what it takes to be a parent and what it takes to be a kid.  It is a deep book that never loses its light heart and sense of fun.

Liam is a great character who even when he is acting like a great father never could be confused with an adult.  Boyce has written a wonderful hero here who is smart, intuitive and thoroughly juvenile in a great way.

I only have one teeny quibble with the novel.  Boyce uses World of Warcraft as one of Liam’s main interests.  I play WOW and so will many of the kids who read this novel.  The problem is that Boyce gets a lots of the details of the game wrong.  Some he has right, but others are really jarringly off.  This doesn’t detract from the book’s quality, but it may really bother some young readers.  I know that whenever he got a detail wrong it pulled me right out of the story, which is unfortunate.

Highly recommended, even for WOW junkies, this book is a beauty of a novel filled with humor, grace and a hero for our times.  Appropriate for ages 10-14.

Reviewed from library copy.

Also reviewed by Nayu’s Reading Corner and Fuse #8.

One thought on “Cosmic

  1. …could it be that there’s a UK version of WOW? I simply ask because that sounds like a beginner mistake, and Frank Cottrell Boyce is such a sterling writer I don’t see him doing that. I adore is books – they are just surreal, and you really never know what long strange trip you’re on when you’re reading them. Can’t wait to read this one, and excited because I’m sure it’s already out here so there won’t be a rush on it!


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